<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." <i>The Perfect Game</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Perfect Game: Exclusive Excerpt Elley Arden "An unlikely attraction—threaten to derail their season." <i>Ruck Me</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Ruck Me: Exclusive Excerpt Rebecca Norinne "What started off as a bit of fun has quickly spiraled out of control..."
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Showing posts by: Kelly Faircloth click to see Kelly Faircloth's profile
Oct 2 2011 1:30pm

Revisiting Linda Howard’s Son of Morning: Academic Chick Gets Streetwise, and a Hot Medieval Guy

Son of the Morning by Linda HowardLinda Howard’s Son of the Morning is a lot of things: romantic suspense, time-travel adventure, paranormal. But mostly, it’s the story of one woman’s transformation from innocent academic to street-smart survivor. Her love interest, medieval warrior Black Niall, is really more of a reward for suffering through a really, really crappy year.

Even at the novel’s opening, Grace is no dummy. For example, she’s conversant in several convenient languages, including Old French, Old English, Latin, and Greek. But rather than working in a traditional university position, she works for the Amaranthine Potere Foundation, a crazy rich organization that funds everything from the most prestigious digs to the smaller projects that fill in the smaller gaps in the historical record. Even better, her husband and her brother work there as well. It’s basically the perfect gig—so of course, there’s something very, very wrong.

[Waiting for the other shoe to drop...]

Sep 24 2011 12:00pm

On the Inherent Awesomeness of Diana Palmer’s Gossipy Infodumps

Long, Tall Texans: Calhoun, Justin, and Tyler by Diana PalmerUnless you’re an absolute stickler for chronology, you probably didn’t start Diana Palmer’s Long, Tall Texan series from the beginning. There’s just too many of them, and it isn’t absolutely necessary: She’s been publishing Jacobsville stories for decades, and the books aren’t bound tightly together with connected plots.

Instead, they’re glued together with something even better: Massive, gossipy infodumps.

Despite being, shall we say, a bit old-fashioned, there’s lots about these books that’s outright addictive: The pacing is good, the angst abundant, and the sex strangely compelling (probably because you don’t expect characters so wholesome to be so freaky).

[And then there are those trademark infodumps...]

Aug 15 2011 4:30pm

Untamed, Forbidden, and Enchanted: Rereading Elizabeth Lowell’s Medievals

Untamed by Elizabeth LowellI can’t be the only person who looked at the rock-solid pairing of Catelyn and Ned Stark and thought: “Damn, where did I put those Elizabeth Lowell medievals?”

Set in Northern Britain in the harsh eleventh century, Untamed, Forbidden, and Enchanted follow the pacification of the “Disputed Lands,” some uncertain, borderline pagan territory that the Norman King Henry wants to control and the Saxon locals are none too keen to cede. So how do they hold up, almost 20 years later? Not too bad!

Dominic La Sabre is back from the First Crusade, and he’s looking to put down roots. For that, he needs land and a wife. (He’s all set financially, due to his participation in the Holy Land’s ransacking.) Luckily, he’s a great favorite of King Henry, who wants the Northern end of his kingdom brought under control. So he awards him Blackthorne Keep, which is located in the back of beyond and controlled by a bitter, nasty old man. Protocol demands that this be achieved by marrying Dominic to Meg, the witchy green-eyed daughter of the aforementioned old crank.


Aug 12 2011 10:30am

Top 10 Phattest Plus-Size Heroines from Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Crusie, Teresa Medeiros and More!

The Bride and the Beast by Teresa MedeirosOur culture is full of downer messages about the romantic prospects of curvy ladies. From the multiplex to the Fiction and Literature shelves, it can seem good things wait for “After.” Fortunately, many romance novelists stand ready to offer a counter narrative. We’ve touched on this subject before, but here are 10 of my personal favorites.

The Bride and the Beast, Teresa Medeiros

When the local villagers decide the self-declared Dragon of Weyrcraig wants a virginal snack, plump, opinionated Gwendolyn is basically their only option. And so the rational-minded woman is left tied to a stake in an abandoned castle courtyard in a rainstorm. As it turns out, the Dragon is actually the rightful chieftain of Clan MacCullough, back to avenge his family’s death. And while the villagers might doubt Gwendolyn’s ample charms, he wants to eat her alive.

[As any hero with his salt should...]

Jul 9 2011 3:30pm

Changing the Lightbulb, and Other Adorably Mundane Rescues

Lightbulb by clgregor via FlickrRomances are full of heroes who bail their lady-loves out of unimaginably tough situations: kidnapping, evil guardians, villainous fiancés, dire financial straights.

But while a SEAL rescue is always appreciated, most of us could use some assistance with more ordinary difficulties. For example, I’m not tall enough to change the light in my bathroom without standing on the rim of the tub and risking a concussion. Fixing a broken water heater or a providing company on a late-night trip to the vet is often when true-life love interests really shine.

So sometimes, it’s not the big saves that create a great romance hero. The mundanest of rescues can ensure his place in the genre’s canon.

[No rescue’s too minor...]

Jun 14 2011 3:00pm

Most Hardcore Geek Heroines in Romance Novels

Glasses by mostaque via FlickrThere’s a lot of ways to be a geek. In fiction, it’s easy to pick the one way that doesn’t work: Slap a pair of dorky glasses on a girl and call it a day. It takes more than a pair of Roy Orbison specs, but let’s use this simplified definition:

Very, very passionate about one particular area of knowledge.

[Unleash your inner geek!...]

May 31 2011 2:00pm

Top 10 Greatest Musically Inclined Romance Heroes

Lucien’s Fall by Barbara SamuelFrom classical composers to rock stars, there’s something extra romantic about a musician. All our preconceptions about genius and brooding and muses are fertile ground for the novelist, and it’s long been a popular career choice for protagonists. Here are 10 of our favorite melodically inclined romantic heroes.

Lucien Harrow, Lucien’s Fall by Barbara Samuel

Lucian’s genius and love of music is the only thing that redeems him from utter horribleness. He’s a devoted rake pursuing the virginal, virtuous Madeline with nothing but impure intentions. But the poor man also suffers from severe migraines and tortures himself by trying to bury his considerable musical talents. Thanks to a youthful slight, he simply writes the melodies down and then burns them.

[Rock on...]

May 20 2011 5:00pm

The 11 Most Dashingly Romantic Ship Captains!

IoanGruffudd as Horatio HornblowerThey’re not easy to love, but they’re certainly easy to fall for. Between the gold buttons and the scrupulous neatness and that slight whiff of sketchiness, there are many reasons to love a ship captain. Here are our favorites!

(Please note: We’ve left pirates off this list. We haven’t forgotten them—they’re just being saved for another day.)

Horatio Hornblower, The Horatio Hornblower Series

Captain Hornblower is certainly dashing enough in C. S. Forster’s swashbuckling novels. But it was the A&E movies that really brought the hero to life, starring the heroically jawed Ioan Gruffold. Sadly, the TV series ended before we ever reached the meat of his adventures, including his own, proper command and his great romance with Lady Barbara. But we did get to see all sorts of brilliant naval thinking and charismatic leadership — both key qualities in qualifying an officer as dashing.


May 16 2011 10:30am

The Better to See You With, My Dear: Glasses-Wearing Romance Heroines

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob MayerDespite Dorothy Parker’s protestations otherwise, men certainly do make passes at girls who wear glasses. Plenty of us can testify from personal experience, but there’s also romance novel after romance novel to strengthen our case. Here are ten of our favorite four-eyed heroines:

Agnes, Agnes and the Hitman (Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer)

Food writer Cranky Agnes has a massive wedding to plan, and it has to go well or she’s in serious financial trouble. It’s one disaster after another, and she seems to have trouble with some criminal elements. Luckily, Agnes is more suited to face the troubles: Her crazy cat-eyed glasses match perfectly with her hot head and cork-screw curls. Fortunately, in walks Shane, her one-named hitman/protector.

Sara Fielding, Dreaming of You (Lisa Kleypas)

Sara is a prim and proper spinster who’s never put a foot out of line. But she’s also a popular writer who writes about crime and passion and villainy. She has the abysmal eyesight of someone who spends her nights reading my candlelight. While exploring crime-ridden London she meets—and rescues —Derek Craven, who runs a popular gambling club. It’s immediately obvious to the reader they’re meant for each other, but it takes a little more time for them to realize it. But one of the first clues is Derek’s pilfering of a pair of Sara’s glasses and carrying them around in his pocket.

[Go ahead, peer inside...]