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October 19, 2017
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October 19, 2017
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October 18, 2017
8 Spooky Historical Houses for Your Halloween
Jessica Avery
Showing posts by: Maggie Boyd click to see Maggie Boyd's profile
Oct 13 2017 9:30am

4 Fantasy Novellas You’ll Fall for This Autumn

Fall, with kids returning to school and the holidays just around the corner, can easily be one of the busiest times of the year. Which makes it the perfect time to indulge your reading habits with stories that are slightly shorter but still packed with the heat and heart romance readers crave. Here are some great fantasy romance stories to warm up the season.

The Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon

The Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon
Level of Romance: High

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

Don Allmon pens a hot reunited lovers story in his male/male fantasy tale The Glamour Thieves. Austin, an elf, has always spelled trouble for JT, an orc who’s worked hard to achieve success. When Austin shows up at JT’s mechanics shop with an amazing, yet clearly stolen, car he knows this time it will be no different. The elf does nothing for free and this “gift” undoubtedly comes with a heavy price tag.

Austin needs help. A mutual friend is in trouble and this is just the excuse he needs to reappear in JT’s life. But JT has created a placid, orderly existence that he has no intention of bringing Austin into. Can Austin convince JT that what he needs in his life is a little hot, sexy Austin style chaos?

It was easy to imagine the two of them like this always. Too easy. He should tell Austin to go. He would tell him. In just a few minutes.

This is an easy to read, a fast and furious tale of magic, mayhem and the power of love.

[Read more...]

Sep 7 2017 9:30am

The Shift of the Tide and the 4 Key Factors of Fantastic Fantasy

The Shift of the Tide by Jeffe Kennedy

A good fantasy romance relies on four key factors: A kickass hero and heroine, an intriguing world, a fantastic adventure and a fabulous romance. Jeffe Kennedy’s The Shift of the Tide is a novel which contains all four of those elements. The latest in her The Twelve Kingdoms/The Uncharted Realms series this is the story of Zynda, the powerful Tala shifter and Marskal, a lieutenant with the elite Hawks.  Zynda was with the original explorers who left the Twelve Kingdoms to investigate the Uncharted Realms when the magic barrier separating them from the rest of the world was expanded.  While her primary mission was to discover what lay beyond the boundaries of their lands, her secondary one has always been to find a way to help her dying people survive. Legends say that Final Form, shifting into a dragon, will bring with it both the blessing of immortality to the shifter and a bounty of fertility for those the dragon should choose to so bless. Zynda and her cohorts have found the dragon and freed it. Now it is to be hoped  Kiraka will teach her the mystery of Final Form.

In the meantime, Marskal, one of the queen’s own elite warriors, has the task of guarding her and Zynda realizes he’s begun to see her as more than just a job:

With some amusement, I realized he was determinedly averting his gaze, out of politeness or embarrassment. I didn’t think he was one of those who found the Tala revolting and thus avoided looking at me for that reason. More likely the wet silk clung to my body enough to leave little to the imagination, something the islander Nahanauns didn’t mind, but the men of the original twelve kingdoms sometimes did. The mischievous Tala trickster in me wanted to see if I could make him look.

Marskal’s timing is terrible though:

I’d once dallied with lovers, but once I’d vowed to take Final Form, I’d eschewed such intimate pleasures. It wouldn’t be fair to a lover who might become attached, then left behind when I abandoned human form.

[Read more...]

Aug 10 2017 9:30am

First Look: Sandra Brown’s Seeing Red (August 15, 2017)

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown 
Seeing Red  
Grand Central Publishing / August 15, 2017 / $27.00 print, $13.99 digital

It takes real skill to create a story that delivers romance while at the same time keeping the nail biting, hard hitting frantic pace of a good thriller going and if there is one thing you can count on it’s that Sandra Brown has that skill. Her latest mystery/romantic suspense, Seeing Red, combines an old act of terrorism with a present-day crime, reminding us that the past is never really behind us.

Kerra Bailey is a good TV journalist on the brink of greatness. Twenty-five years ago the Phoenix hotel was bombed, killing 197 people and creating a hero of Major Franklin Trapper, the man who led a handful of desperate survivors out of the rubble to safety while carrying a young girl in his arms. Affectionally called The Major, Franklin Trapper’s moment of valor had been immortalized by a Pulitzer Prize winning photograph which launched a celebrity career of fêtes, interviews, public speaking engagements and White House dinners.  And then The Major had gone silent, retiring to a small town in the country. Kerra knows she has just the right bait to get him to agree to go back in the limelight, appearing one more time on camera with her. The only problem? She can’t get him to give her the opportunity to offer that bait.

Deciding to use his estranged son as her entrée’, Kierra seeks out disgraced former ATF agent John Trapper. Their first meeting is explosive:

[Read more...]

Jul 21 2017 1:00pm

The Summer’s 10 Best Fantasy Romances

J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”  This summer sees the publication of some unique fantasy novels which will help you escape into whole new worlds.

White Hot by Ilona Andrews

White Hot and Wildfire by Ilona Andrews
Level of Romance: High

The most exciting news in fantasy romance this year is the dual release of the Hidden Legacy books within a three month period. In Ilona Andrews’s White Hot (May, Book 2) (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) Nevada Baylor once more teams up with Connor “Mad” Rogan. Both of them able to wield powerful magic, they find themselves nearly overwhelmed when the newest client of Nevada’s modest detective agency brings them a case which shows dark forces at work in the city of Houston. Fortunately, while battling for justice—and their lives—they still have time for a few sexy encounters:

I moaned into his lips. He kissed me, pillaging my mouth, the slick heat of his tongue taking over, and I teased him with my tongue, nipping at his lower lip. My breasts felt heavy and full; my body turned pliant. He was all hard muscle and rigid strength, and I stretched myself against him, seducing, enticing.

While book two does indeed show the heat between these two burning brighter, it is Wildfire (July 25, Book 3) (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) which promises us a greater resolution of the issues keeping them apart. Nevada knows that recent problems within her extended family may cause friction between them but she is determined that the changes about to come to her life will not cost her the man she loves.

He’d made it clear in the past that he expected me to walk away from him the moment our family became a House. He didn’t think our magic was compatible. If we had children, they might not even be Primes. He viewed this as the beginning of our end, but he came anyway. He was also a complete idiot if he thought I’d let him get away. He was mine. My Connor.

This writing team always does a fantastic job of writing lush romance combined with richly imagined fantasy and this is a series not to be missed. Those who haven’t had a chance to read Burn for Me (Book One) should purchase it right away so they can experience this wonderful story for themselves.

[Read more...]

Jul 10 2017 9:30am

Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters Tells a Different Kind of Fairy Tale

The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey

Fairy tales are the foremothers of fantasy. It is in these stories that humanity first imagined a world of magic. Fairy tales are also the origins of romance; it is in these fables that the idea of happily ever after was born. Mercedes Lackey, using various fairy tales as starting points, has a delightful fantasy series that combines the magic and romance of these yarns and upgrades them for a more adult audience: The Elemental Masters.

Unlike Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms series, which focused on the romance, the Elemental Masters series is comprised of fantasy tales with strong romantic elements. The early books can be read as standalones but as the series progresses you are going to want to read them in order. And if you are a fantasy romance fan, you are going to want to read them because these delightful stories will definitely get your heart to singing and your imagination soaring.

Elemental Masters are mages who have control over a specific element – air, water, earth and fire. Each master also has control/relationship with the elementals of his element.  The basic elementals are: Gnome (earth), Undine (water) Sylph (air) Salamander(fire). They also work with Selkies or other beings of their element. The series is set primarily during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and takes place mostly in England, where the British Elemental Masters Council is headquartered at The Exeter Club in London.

The first story, The Fire Rose, is a re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast. Jason Cameron, wealthy San Franciscan and Fire Master, had attempted an old spell and found himself trapped in wolf form. Slowly losing his humanity, he engages Rosalind Hawkins to read to him. They do not meet face to face but converse through a speaking tube. She finds his taste odd – she has never before read through texts on alchemy – but she does as requested. Soon the two are holding spirited conversations and Rosalind finds herself quite drawn to the enigmatic Jason. But how will she feel once she sees him in wolf form? A fascinating new take on a familiar story, The Fire Rose is a terrific start to this series.

[Read more...]

Jun 23 2017 9:30am

A Definitive Ranking of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson Books, Based on Swoonworthiness

Which Mercy Thompson book is the most romantic?

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Romantic fantasy has more than its share of super couples.  Ilona Andrews has three of them: Kate and Curran from The Kate Daniels series, Dina Demille and Sean Evans from the Innkeeper Chronicles and Nevada Baylor and Connor “Mad” Rogan from The Hidden Legacy series. Kelley Armstrong has Elena Michaels and Clay from The Otherworld series. Then there’s Bones and Cat from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series; Charley and Reyes from the Charley Davidson Series by Darynda Jones and Anna and Charles from Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. But perhaps one of the BEST loved super couples of all time is Briggs’ Mercy and Adam from the Mercedes Thompson series.

All of these couples have the advantage of having their romance grow over the course of many publications.  We get to see Mercy and Adam move from a frenemies-neighbors status to their current married state slowly, as their love story progresses through 10 books, numerous short stories and even a few graphic novels.

But while the graphic novels and short stories provide truly interesting insight into how Adam and Mercy’s world is formed and how all the many, many people they interact with fit into it, it is the books that truly give us the courtship payoff. In order to really appreciate the outcome, the books MUST be read in order. Not only does this provide the natural progression of the affair, it is imperative if you are to have any sense of the overlying plot of the series. If you want to read the books in order and watch this luscious love story unfold from beginning to end, follow this excellent timeline.  That said, some books are more romantic than others so here is their swoon ranking:

10. Blood Bound (Book 2)

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

This is the second book in the series but introduces us more to Adam’s competition than it moves the Mercy/Adam relationship forward. Here we learn of Mercy and Samuel (Mercy’s ex) past. We also have some tender moments with Mercy’s longtime friend, Stefan, who clearly has more feelings for her than she does for him. 

[Read more...]

Apr 6 2017 2:00pm

10 Fantasy Romance Novels You’ll Want to Read This Spring

Inclusiveness is the name of the game in this column’s fantasy novels. As Michael Scott once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” The last few months have seen the publication of some unique fantasy romances which embrace this ideal; they encompass a wide range of people, places and dreams.

Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

In Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys  (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) we learn that Earth has a rich species history:

This is the litany of the people of Earth. Before the first, there was blackness, and there was fire. The Earth cooled and life arose, struggling against the unremembering emptiness. First were the five-winged eldermost of Earth, faces of the Yith . . . sixth are humans, the wildest of races, who share the world in three parts. The people of the rock, the K’n-yan, build first and most beautifully, but grow cruel and frightened and become the Mad Ones Under the Earth. The people of the air spread far and breed freely, and build the foundation for those who will supplant them. The people of the water are born in shadow on land, but what they build beneath the wave will live in glory till the dying sun burns away their last shelter.

Aphra Marsh is part of  “the people of the water.”  Her folk have been hunted and all but obliterated by the people of the air but she has found friends and family in San Francisco who overlook her peculiarity and support her. Most especially Charlie Dav, book store owner and a student of the occult. Together Charlie and Aphra are attempting to rework the ancient magics of her people. But what will they find along the way?

Trouble! An unusual story with love of family and friends woven throughout it this book examines what it means to be human in a world where people are persecuted for being the least bit different. From the Japanese internment camps of WWII to the hunt for alien others in the following years, this story is an emotional look at how it feels to be a stranger in your own land.

[Read more...]

Mar 2 2017 4:00pm

An Uncommon Courtship’s Ode to Love and Breakfast

An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and that is certainly true for the hero of Kristi Ann Hunter’s latest Regency inspirational romance novel An Uncommon Courtship. One meal in particular holds the key to his affection.

Lord Trent Hawthorn was convinced that breakfast was one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. What better way to celebrate the Lord’s new mercies and fresh beginnings than rejoicing in the day’s new opportunities by eating a crispy rasher of bacon?

Amiable, affable Trent (younger brother to the Duke of Riverton) finds his life turned upside down by what he discovers in the ruins on his brother’s property. Expecting trouble he encounters instead a young lady of quality, Lady Adelaide Bell, hunting for mushrooms. Thanks to a faulty floor (which breaks and plunges them into an inescapable basement) and an isolated location, the two find themselves spending a very uncomfortable night in the abandoned building with nothing but mushrooms to eat. While the proprieties had been observed and the two hardly interacted, Trent knows none of that matters. They were discovered and rescued and the whole village knows of their escapade.  Realizing that Adelaide’s reputation is on the brink of ruin, Trent offers marriage, it is gratefully accepted and shortly thereafter they find themselves wed. It is an alliance of complete strangers.

[Read more...]

Jan 11 2017 4:00pm

11 Memorable Moments from Unforgettable Fantasy This Winter

Albert Einstein tells us that “Imagination is everything.” The fantasy novels of winter 2016/2017 contain heart, love, and plenty of imagination.

Contemporary Fantasy:

Indelible by Adelia Saunders

Indelible by Adelia Saunders

Indelible by Adelia Saunders is the story of Magdalena, and Richard and Neil and how their fates intertwine. Magdalena sees people’s lives literally written on their skin. As a child, the sentences looked like funny markings but she can still remember when she first learned to read and blurted a horrible truth to her teacher. She was delighted when her vision blurred at a young age and uses her glasses only when absolutely necessary. Her battered shins may hate her but her soul, at least, finds a certain peace in this solution. When Richard sends a Christmas present to her mom, he uses his son Neil as a carrier. Magdalena is happy to pick up the package but less delighted when she is forced to put on her glasses and sees her own name clearly on his skin. What can that mean?

An interesting take on how magical gifts can come with high prices, Indelible offers a slow burn romance within a literary fantasy/paranormal novel.

Memorable moment: When Neil and Magdalena meet:

Suddenly, she leaned in, looking right at him with strange intensity. Either he had something on his face or she was going to kiss him. Neil thought he might pass out. But instead she smiled, like something there had pleased her.

[Read more...]

Jan 3 2017 10:30am

Dancing, Monsters, and a Slow Burn Unfold in Lauren D.M. Smith’s Enveloping Shadows

Enveloping Shadows by Lauren D.M. Smith

Love is like dancing. Often, all it takes is the right partner to turn a moment from mundane or difficult into magical. That’s certainly true for the characters of Enveloping Shadows by Lauren D. M. Smith. For Terrwyn, dancing with a blade is a joy but swirling about with a man to music in a crowded room is akin to facing an enemy without a sword. As bodyguard to the Princess she is honor bound to obey her orders though and one of those orders is to have a little fun at that evening’s ball. Terrwyn stoically hangs out in a corner near the windows, relieved to be able to get a little fresh air while keeping a close eye on the guests. It’s not hard to be alone, she’s used to it.

Most men in court avoided her, if they didn’t treat her like the other knights.

There is an especially good reason for them to keep their distance at a festivity.

[Read more...]

Nov 9 2016 4:00pm

12 Fantasy Romances to Take You Away

Lloyd Alexander once said that “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.” This autumn’s crop of fantasy novels give both a bit of escape and insight while mixing them with magic, adventure and of course, romance.

Contemporary Fantasy:

The Ferryman Institute by Colin Gigl

The Ferryman Institute by Colin Gigl has been hailed as a “stunning, fantastical debut novel.” In Greek mythology, the souls of the dead are rowed across the rivers Styx and Acheron, bodies of water that divide the world of the living from that of the beyond, by the ferryman Charon (aka Kharon). In this exciting novel, reminiscent of the comic books Rest in Peace Department by Peter M. Lenkov, Charlie Dawson is a ferryman. He helps the living cross to whatever is awaiting them on the other side. He’s the best there is but he has been at this a long, long time and is frankly burned out. Unfortunately, the afterlife doesn’t come with more career opportunities! Then Charlie keeps Alice Spiegel from killing herself and realizes that the afterlife can come complete with romance:

She interrupted him with a kiss. It wasn’t even remotely close to a good one: it was too short, she didn’t meet his mouth flush on, his eyes were still open, and his lips were still moving as he tried to speak. Frankly, she didn’t care.

There was something special about the way Charlie spoke, something Alice had trouble pinning down. Maybe it wasn’t one thing, necessarily, but some combination that when blended together exceeded the sum of its parts. There existed a spellbinding cadence in his words – yes, spellbinding, that was the right word, because what was it if not magic?- and understated rhythm that undressed the world, exposed it as nothing more than an illusion. He was the magician in reverse, the man who demonstrated with a flourish that his act was real – it was her pain and suffering, her reality that was the cheap trick she’d failed to see through.

His voice enveloped her in a tapestry of woven words while his eyes orchestrated the ebb and flow of his inflection, a conductor flicking the baton in seemingly careless strokes, yet driving a masterful symphony with them. Though doubt and fear and sadness all lingered in the back alleys of her psyche, his voice bore her back in time, back to when she was child capable of believing in impossible things. And in the dying moments of that first kiss, Alice believed in them anew.

[Read more...]

Oct 11 2016 9:30am

James Rollins Wrote... Romance Novels?! (And He Didn’t Even Know It)

Subterranean by James Rollins

James Rollins would probably be surprised to hear this but for much of his early career he wrote romance novels. Sure, the books were filled with action and adventure, mysterious discoveries and an exploration of metaphysical possibilities. At the heart of each of them, however, lay an amazing, not to be missed, love story.

Take for example his very first novel, Subterranean. On the surface, this is a story of an astonishing archeological find deep below the ice of Antarctica.  Benjamin Brust, ex-military and current spelunker extraordinaire has been called in to be part of a team exploring the breathtaking, inexplicable underground caverns found below Mount Erebus. When Ben first meets the dig supervisor he realizes that this adventure may have more going for it than just fascinating caves and rocks:

From behind him, he heard a woman’s voice. “Whiskey. Neat please.”

He turned to see who had similar taste in beverages. Whiskey drinking women were as scarce as hen’s teeth. He wasn’t disappointed.

She toyed with the drink set before her, long fingers, short nails, polished. No rings, no wedding band – good. She stood as tall as him, surprising for a woman. Her skin was bronzed, a coppery rich hue that spoke of days under the sun. But what most caught the breath in his throat was her black hair, trailing in lazy curls to her waist.

[Read more...]

Aug 10 2016 9:30am

Inspire Your Summer Reading with Summer Inspirationals

No Other Will Do by Karen Witimeyer

Matshona Dhliwayo said, “Love is sweet even when what you go through is bitter.” That’s a statement custom made for this summer’s bumper crop of sensational inspirational romances. There might be some trials and tribulations but the love stories are sweet as summer strawberries. No column could do all of them justice but here are a few reads you simply can’t miss:

No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer is a childhood-friends-to-lovers romance. Malachi Shaw was a boy with no options; Emma Chandler was a girl with a big heart. When Emma found Malachi freezing and half-starved in the family barn, she convinced her aunts to take him in.  Now Malachi is a grown man with a successful demolition job and Emma has founded a successful woman’s colony in Harper's Station, Texas. The two haven’t seen each other in years but when someone begins to systematically threaten and endanger the women in her care Emma knows there is only one man to call for protection.

When Malachi had been forced to leave the Chandler women to make his own way in the world, he hadn’t planned on returning. His feelings for Emma are powerful ones and unlikely to be returned by such a successful, intelligent and independent young lady. But when she’s in trouble he doesn’t hesitate to head back.

[Read more...]

Jul 31 2016 1:00pm

Experience Amish History Through Olivia Newport’s Amish Turns of Time Series

Wonderful Lonesome by Olivia Newport

Inpirational romances make up roughly twenty percent of the romance market and of that twenty percent a good thirty percent of the books published and sold are Amish romances. But while many of these books celebrate the close family ties, delicious treats and homespun culture of these fascinating people, few look at the history that formed them into the community they are today. Amish Turns of Time, a series of four books, bridges that gap by providing deep insight into key moments of history that formed the current day Amish and Mennonite churches.

The Amish Head West

The first novel, showcases the settlement aspect of the Amish past. Like many in the early 20th Century, the Amish were eager to expand into the west. Their lifestyle includes both large families and subsistence farming, which means families are often looking for cheap land in order for their growing brood to have acreage of their own. Wonderful Lonesome examines the lives of several people who moved to Colorado in the early 1910s in order to obtain what they were promised was good, inexpensive farmland.  Young Abbie Weaver, the heroine of our story, is excited that her family answered the call to help settle. However, as the years have dragged on and their small community has been without a minister, she sees the divides that have cropped up among the people.  Unfortunately, strife seems to be the only thing flourishing in this drought stricken territory.

The situation is especially difficult for Abbie because Willem Peters, one of the settlers, has been paying her court. Without worship services or singings that courtship has been unfamiliar to both, consisting mostly of buggy rides to and from town.  They know people have hopes of them becoming a real couple:

[Read more...]

Jul 27 2016 4:30pm

The (Many?) Lovers of Mr. Spock—It’s Not the Size of Your Starship That Counts


Spock & Uhura, Star Trek, 2009

Mr. Spock was my first crush. As a six year old watching a sci-fi program for probably the first time in her life, I totally fell in love with the enigmatic alien. That crush has stuck through the years and I still harbor a special place in my heart for this wonderful, cool, logical, intelligent character. I want the best for him. I want love for him.  I’m not alone. Fandom has long shipped Spock with the women who walk in and out of his life and in the 2009 J.J. Abrams reboot of the series many finally got their wish when Abram’s alternate reality universe had Spock and Uhura as lovers.

Naturally, there are nay-sayers who prefer to see this beloved character as a romantic loner, a man whose only close relationships are the platonic ones he has with Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy. However, that idea of a Lone Ranger style Spock is in many ways a myth. A close look at the original Trek TV series shows that he did, in fact, have several romantic (or almost romantic) relationships over the course of that original five year mission. Here are just a few of the loves (and near loves) of First Officer Spock:

[Spock needs love, too...]

Jul 19 2016 4:15pm

Magic Hinges to a Magical World: Fantasy Romances You Should Be Reading

Withering Rose by Kaitlyn Davis

“The Bookshop has a thousand books,
All colors, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges.”

― Nancy Byrd Turner

Magic hinges to a magical world, that’s what a good fantasy romance novel provides. And fortunately for those of us who love them, fantasy romances are “in” right now. All of us have probably indulged in the more popular series like Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson, Karen Marie Moning’s Fever novels and Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels books but what do you do when you’ve read all the big names and are still anxious for more?

Here are a few fantastic fantasy romances that might not have made it on to your radar yet:

[Get swept up in the magic!]

Jun 29 2016 5:00pm

Swedish Import: Simona Ahrnstedt’s All In

All In by Simona Ahrnstedt

Swedish author Simona Ahrnstedt makes something old new again in her contemporary romance All In. Set in the cutthroat world of Sweden's financial elite, this is a tale where the stakes are high and the greatest commodities are love and loyalty.

As a precocious tween I was a big reader of the epic romances of the Nineteen-eighties. Stolen from the bookshelves of my mother’s friends, these novels were stories with such scope and magnificence it took 500 sweeping pages to reach our HEA. They often involved rich, glamorous people leading dazzling, decadent lives. All In is just such a tale.

David Hammar is a self-made man. A corporate raider who has climbed to the very top of his profession, he is set to make the biggest hostile take-over of his life – Investum. A company owned by an old, aristocratic family whose home is a castle, this firm is ripe for the picking and David is determined to be the man to do it. However, one piece is missing from his perfect plan. He needs one member of the family to turn traitor. To that end, he arranges a meeting with Natalia De la Grip.

[High stakes romance...]

Jun 13 2016 4:30pm

“I Think I Need You, Too”: Pat and Tiffany’s Unconventional Love Story in Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook

Sometimes great love stories don’t come packaged as romances. While the traditional route to the epic romantic novel is a female author spinning a tale of a hero and heroine charting the course to a happily ever after, sometimes a man will write a tale that tugs perfectly on the heartstrings. Such is the case of The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. A book about lost souls and second chances, Mr. Quick takes hero Pat Peoples and heroine Tiffany on a bumpy, rocky, perilous trip to a happy right now ending that will leave the reader breathless, not from its’ perfection but its’ poignancy.

Both Pat and Tiffany have loved and lost before. Each of them had believed that the stars had aligned, the gods had been good and that their lives were on the course they were meant to be on. When tragedy strikes, their reactions are deep and scarring, destroying all they had built before the world spun on its axis and took everything they had ever dreamed of away from them. Damaged is a good day for them; decimated and destroyed is their average.

[But even in darkness there's a silver lining]

Jun 8 2016 9:30am

This Won’t Be the Best Day of Your Life: When Weddings Go Wrong in Romance Novels

Only Beloved by Mary Balogh

In the brilliant and witty How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, the author assures us that wedding days are not the happiest days of our lives. “Weddings,” she tells us, “do women no good at all. They’re a viper’s pit of waste and despair.” While most romance novels celebrate perfect days, several recent books seem to highlight just what Ms. Moran is saying. These fictional brides might indeed wind up with Mr. Wonderful but getting through their special day is nowhere near as fun and easy as Brides magazine would have you think.

Ms. Dora Debbins from Only Beloved by Mary Balogh never expected to marry. A music teacher in a country village she is happy with the life she has built for herself. Then George Crabbe, the Duke of Stanbrook surprises her with a proposal. Dora is delighted to accept and soon finds herself in London, planning a society wedding and celebrating a deliciously warm and friendly relationship with George. Her wedding day dawns bright and clear and seems likely to be a wonderful experience. And then:

A voice broke the silence from far back in the church before the Bishop could resume –a male voice, distinct and loud and slightly trembling with emotion. It was a familiar voice, though George had not heard it for a number of years.

“I can show just cause.”

And somehow it seemed to George that he had been expecting this, that it was inevitable. There was a collective gasp of shock from the pews and a renewed rustle of silks and satins as the members of the congregation, almost as one body, swung about in their seats to see who had spoken. George turned too.

[Duh duh DUH]

Jun 4 2016 10:30am

Missing Downton Abbey? Try Doctor Thorne

Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey was an important part of my television life for the last six years. Always eager to know what was going to happen, I would read Naz’s recaps here at HeroesandHeartbreakers as the shows aired in England. This meant I knew what was going to occur long before the shows aired in America but I didn’t care. Downton is enriched by multiple viewings. On occasion a few of the important details of an episode are lost in the large story line. When you know that story line and focus on the background, a whole new level of magic shines through.  

Amazon Prime is now offering Fellowes fans a new experience in the pride and pomposity of the British upper classes.  Adapted for the small screen by Mr. Fellowes and directed by Niall MacCormick, Doctor Thorne, an 1858 novel by Anthony Trollope, is a Victorian era story which will feel familiar to any romance reader. Similar in style and tone to a Jane Austen novel, Doctor Thorne examines the role of money in marriage and whether or not love should be a part of that equation. This is a fabulous, not to be missed production, with all the beautiful settings, period charm, and fabulous costuming that Mr. Fellowes is known for.

[Pretty women in pretty dresses...]