<i>The Scandalous Flirt</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Scandalous Flirt: Exclusive Excerpt Olivia Drake "Could it be that Lucas has been in love with Rory all along..." <i>Trust In Me</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Trust In Me: Exclusive Excerpt Jessica Linden "She’ll need to trust Marco to protect her…" <i>A Daring Arrangement</i>: Exclusive Excerpt A Daring Arrangement: Exclusive Excerpt Joanna Shupe "It seems Julius has a secret plan all his own—one that will solve a dark mystery..." <i>Slap Shot: Bryant</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Slap Shot: Bryant: Exclusive Excerpt Alicia Hunter Pace "There are plenty of reasons why starting a relationship would be all kinds of wrong."
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Showing posts by: Wendy the Super Librarian click to see Wendy the Super Librarian's profile
Mon
Oct 16 2017 2:00pm

5 Unusual Historical Best Bets for October 2017

What unusual historicals are you looking forward to this month?

October is the month of cooler temperatures, kids in costume showing up on your doorstep begging for candy, and mothers everywhere sneakily digging through their children’s candy stash to filch the miniature Snickers bars (admit it…).  It’s also a great month for unusual historicals! 

Hamilton!

Hamilton's Battalion by Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole, and Rose Lerner

Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole and Rose Lerner

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

Love in the time of Hamilton…

On October 14, 1781, Alexander Hamilton led a daring assault on Yorktown's defenses and won a decisive victory in America's fight for independence. Decades later, when Eliza Hamilton collected his soldiers' stories, she discovered that while the war was won at Yorktown, the battle for love took place on many fronts...

Promised Land by Rose Lerner

Donning men's clothing, Rachel left her life behind to fight the British as Corporal Ezra Jacobs—but life catches up with a vengeance when she arrests an old love as a Loyalist spy.

At first she thinks Nathan Mendelson hasn't changed one bit: he's annoying, he talks too much, he sticks his handsome nose where it doesn't belong, and he's self-righteously indignant just because Rachel might have faked her own death a little. She'll be lucky if he doesn't spill her secret to the entire Continental Army.

Then Nathan shares a secret of his own, one that changes everything...

The Pursuit Of... by Courtney Milan

What do a Black American soldier, invalided out at Yorktown, and a British officer who deserted his post have in common? Quite a bit, actually.

* They attempted to kill each other the first time they met.
* They're liable to try again at some point in the five-hundred-mile journey that they're inexplicably sharing.
* They are not falling in love with each other.
* They are not falling in love with each other.
* They are.... Oh no.

That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole

Mercy Alston knows the best thing to do with pesky feelings like “love” and “hope”: avoid them at all cost. Serving as a maid to Eliza Hamilton, and an assistant in the woman's stubborn desire to preserve her late husband's legacy, has driven that point home for Mercy—as have her own previous heartbreaks.

When Andromeda Stiel shows up at Hamilton Grange for an interview in her grandfather's stead, Mercy's resolution to live a quiet, pain-free life is tested by the beautiful, flirtatious, and entirely overwhelming dressmaker.

Andromeda has staid Mercy reconsidering her worldview, but neither is prepared for love—or for what happens when it's not enough.

Coming October 17, Milan, Lerner, and Cole only recently announced that this project existed.  Inspired by love of country, as Milan eloquently states on her website, “It is my most fervent wish that someday equality will truly belong to everyone, the way it was originally promised. I don’t know if this is the book anyone needs to read, but it is the one I needed to write at this particular moment…I like to think of this anthology as a work about the America that always has been there, waiting.”

[Read more...]

Mon
Sep 25 2017 12:30pm

6 Unusual Historical Best Bets for September 2017

What unusual historicals are you looking forward to this month?

Wow, what a month for unusual historicals!  Whether you like rogue knights, bakers heating up the kitchen (in more ways than one!), pirates, or romances breaking through the 20th-century wall, this is a great month with a lot of variety to entice readers (and their wallets!)

1920s!

Lady Be Good by Heather Hiestand

Lady Be Good by Heather Hiestand

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

When exiled royalty and espionage combine, expect a romance as bold as the 1920s . . .

Olga Novikov is a princess without a throne. Her fiancé and her family slain in the revolution, she flees Russia and finds herself working as the head of housekeeping at London’s luxurious Grand Russe Hotel. It’s a far cry from the glamour of her former life, but she’s grateful for the job—until a guest forces her to question where her loyalty lies. The charming nobleman challenges her at every turn—and arouses dreams of romance she thought she’d abandoned forever . . .

Douglas “Glass” Childers is living a double life. On the surface, he’s the indolent Viscount Walling, but in truth he’s an intelligence agent searching for a Bolshevik weapons master. The coolly beautiful and headstrong housekeeper is a distraction he doesn’t need—unless she’s the key piece in the puzzle he must solve. Trusting her could be dangerous—but loving her is an undeniable temptation . . . 

With this third book in her Grand Russe Hotels series Heistand sprinkles in some Russian Revolution intrigue.  RT Book Reviews gave this four stars and calls it “A historical romantic suspense with incredible characters who carry more than guns – they carry secrets they will do anything to keep under wraps.”

[Read more...]

Mon
Aug 14 2017 12:00pm

5 Unusual Historical Best Bets for August 2017

What unusual historicals are you looking forward to this month?

August is all about series for our anticipated unusual historical reading.  A beloved series coming to an end, a new series getting spun off with fan favorite characters, two continuing series and even the return of a debut novel that traveled back to the future from 2002. 

Spies and Lies!

Beauty Like the Night by Joanna Bourne

Beauty Like the Night by Joanna Bourne

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

Séverine de Cabrillac, orphan of the French revolution and sometime British intelligence agent, has tried to leave spying behind her. Now she devotes herself to investigating crimes in London and finding justice for the wrongly accused.

Raoul Deverney, an enigmatic half-Spaniard with enough secrets to earn even a spy's respect, is at her door demanding help. She's the only one who can find the killer of his long-estranged wife and rescue her missing twelve-year-old daughter.

Séverine reluctantly agrees to aid him, even though she knows the growing attraction between them makes it more than unwise. Their desperate search for the girl ​unleashes treason and murder. . . and offers a last chance for two strong, wounded people to find love.

I realize that Regency era spies are a dime a dozen, but Bourne’s Spymasters have been rooted in the French Revolution and this is the sixth and final book in the beloved series.  H&H’s Janet Webb said in her First Look for our sister site, Criminal Element, that “Séverine and Raoul make formidable adversaries…” and that this is “a worthy conclusion…” to a “mesmerizing series.”   

[More Unusual Historicals ahead...]

Mon
Jul 17 2017 2:30pm

5 Unusual Historical Best Bets for July 2017

What sort of “not-your-usual historical” are you looking for this month? 

Hot. It’s so hot not even the beach is offering much reprieve.  That only leaves a girl with one viable option: Camp out in front of the nearest air conditioner and enjoy the more pleasurable alternative of getting your temperature rising with these new not-your-usual historicals!  This month’s eligible bachelors include:

Medieval!

Forbidden Night with the Warrior by Michelle Willingham

Forbidden Night with the Warrior by Michelle Willingham

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

One wicked night for an heir! 

Rosamund de Courcy has always loved Warrick de Laurent, but was forced to marry another. Now her husband's dying command is that she must provide him with an heir. To do so, she will have to spend one sinful night…with Warrick! 

The powerful warrior was wounded by Rosamund's abandonment years ago, and Warrick refuses to let her touch his heart again. But this illicit night is impossible to resist, and soon he is determined—he will not only possess her, but reclaim her for his own!

Her dying husband’s greatest wish is that his odious brother doesn’t inherit, and ultimately ruin, everything he’s spent his lifetime building.  Unable to perform the task of impregnating his wife, he arranges an indecent proposal for our heroine, but not just with any man.  Oh no.  Our hero, the man she loved and lost when her father arranged her marriage to another. This kicks off Willingham’s new Warriors of the Night series, with two more books in the series following in late 2017 and 2018.

[Read more...]

Tue
Jun 27 2017 3:00pm

5 Unusual Historical Best Bets for June 2017

What sort of “not-your-usual historical” are you looking for this month? 

Summer is in full swing, which means here in the United States we’re gearing up for our annual celebration of independence from England on July 4th.  Publishers must have gotten that memo. For fans of Westerns and American-set historical romance, June is proving to be a gift. But fans of Mother England shouldn’t fret. She makes an appearance in June as well.

Western!

A Touch of Frost by Jo Goodman

A Touch of Frost by Jo Goodman

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

After his train is robbed at gunpoint, Remington Frost awakens from a blow to find the bandits gone…along with the woman he was shadowing for protection. No stranger to risk, Remington will do what it takes to bring Phoebe Apple to safety and her kidnappers to justice. But ransoming Phoebe is just the start of trouble…

Phoebe is shocked to learn that her mysterious rescuer is none other than Remington Frost, the son of her sister’s new husband. Home at Twin Star Ranch, she falls happily into western life—and cautiously in love with Remington. But danger hides close to home, and their romance illuminates a web of secrets and betrayal that may put the rancher and his intended bride past the point of rescue.

Goodman is one of the finest practitioners of historical western romance, and this one has received the expected accolades.  Library Journal declares “A smart, resourceful heroine and a savvy, worthy hero drive the complex plot of this touching story; another winner,” and All About Romance granted it Desert Island Keeper status saying “it’s a feast for the heart and mind.”

[+4 more Best Bets ahead!]

Thu
May 25 2017 9:30am

5 Unusual Historical Best Bets for May 2017

What sort of “not-your-usual historical” are you looking for this month? 

May is the month when the flowers are in bloom, the bees are buzzing, the kids are counting down the days until school’s out for summer and we’re digging our cute strappy sandals out from the back of our closets.  It also means a blooming crop of not-your-usual historical romance!  This month features fan favorite authors in different settings, a heroine of dubious reputation, and two marriages of convenience.

1930s Hollywood!

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…

The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.

Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…

With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

Quick’s latest is enjoying praise from numerous quarters.  Library Journal calls it “an adventurous romp,” Publisher’s Weekly says it “sparkles with wit and clever plotting,” and Booklist gave it a starred review. H&H’s own Cheryl Sneed was “engrossed with the setting” and “happily seduced.”

[+ more Best Bets ahead...]

Thu
Apr 20 2017 1:00pm

Springtime Fancy: Unusual Historical Best Bets for April 2017

What sort of “not-your-usual historical” are you looking for this month? 

April is the month where we’re all desperate for sunshine and flowers…then we make the mistake of looking out the window and realize Mother Nature is dumping one last snowfall to remind of us of who is really in charge.  So while there are sunny days ahead, and beach reading to look forward to, there’s still a chance to curl up by a fire and crack open a delicious new historical romance.

Georgian

Once a Courtesan by Liana LeFey

Once a Courtesan by Liana LeFey
(Amazon | Kobo | B&N)

Constable Will Danbury has infiltrated a school to investigate an alleged crime. What he finds is a deeper, darker mystery—and a potent attraction to the alluring headmistress, Jacqueline Trouvère. But a constable can't get romantically involved with a suspect; even one he thinks is innocent, without committing career suicide.

As headmistress of a school devoted to saving the innocent daughters of London's soiled doves, Jacqueline’s life is complicated. Will tempts her in ways she never thought to experience, but she believes no respectable gentleman could love a former courtesan.

Despite their best efforts to fight it, a romance blossoms. When danger jeopardizes the school, however, his deceptions and her omissions come to light, threatening to destroy their love. They must look beyond the past to save both their future together and the lives of those they’ve sworn to protect.

LeFey mixes romance, mystery and plenty of secrets in this second book in her Once Wicked series.  The heroine is the head mistress of a girl’s school who must resort to hiring the hero as her new math professor.  Turns out she’s a former courtesan and he’s a constable conducting an undercover investigation and the school’s pupils?  Daughters of prostitutes.  Secrets abound!

[+More Unusual Historicals Ahead!]

Thu
Mar 23 2017 2:00pm

Pot O’ Gold: Unusual Historical Best Bets for March 2017

What sort of “not-your-usual historical” are you looking for this month? 

For historical romance fans March is a veritable meadow filled with four-leaf clovers.  Not exactly thick on the ground for the past several years, this month brings not one, but two romances set during the American Civil War.  There’s also a western endorsed by a beloved author, a Viking adventure and two long-running series take their final bow. Let’s dive on in, shall we?

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

The Civil War!

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

(Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo)

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .

In an inspiring First Look, CeresTheories writes “Elle and Malcolm face larger obstacles than most couples, and it’s their incredible strength of will and love of country and each other that pulls them through. It’s a rare book that can make you believe in love and the United States at the same time.”  USA! USA! USA!

[More unusual historicals ahead!]

Sat
Feb 25 2017 2:00pm

Be Mine: Unusual Historical Best Bets for February 2017

What Unusual Historicals are you looking forward to this month?

February 14th may be for lovers but I think the best day of the month is February 15thwhen all the Valentine’s Day chocolate goes on sale for half price.  I also love February because while the weather outside is frightful, we have a new crop of unusual historical romances to keep us inside, where it’s toasty and warm, reading.  All while eating our half-price chocolate, of course!

Treasure Hunt!

Passion Favors the Bold by Theresa Romain

Passion Favors the Bold by Theresa Romain

(Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble)

DESPERATE MEASURES 

Georgette Frost’s time is almost up. On her twenty-first birthday, the protections outlined in her late parents’ will are set to expire. With prospects for employment or marriage unfavorable at best, she decides to leave London and join her brother, Benedict, on a treasure hunt for gold sovereigns stolen from the Royal Mint. 

DANGEROUS LIAISONS

Lord Hugo Starling has always felt protective of his friend Benedict’s sister, Georgette. So when he discovers her dressed in ragged boy’s clothes, about to board a coach for parts unknown, he feels duty bound to join her search. But mystery piles upon mystery as they cross England together, not least of which is the confounded attraction between them. As Georgette leads him to a reward he never expected, Hugo realizes he’s embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime…

The first book, Fortune Favors the Wicked, earned a starred review from Booklist and Desert Island Keeper status from All About Romance.  This second book has earned Top Pick! status from RT Book Reviews, who declared “Rapier-sharp wit, dynamic characters, humor and action combine masterfully in this second Royal Rewards installment.”

[Read more...]

Wed
Feb 15 2017 1:00pm

J.R. Ward’s Bourbon Kings Will Only Be a Trilogy—So What’s Left to Cover?

The Bourbon Kings Trilogy by JR Ward

WARNING: This post will contain spoilers for the two books in The Bourbon Kings trilogy

Most romance readers will tell you that discovering the genre was somewhat of a clandestine affair for them. That sack of Harlequin Presents novels they found in Mom’s closet.  The lone, well-thumbed bodice ripper they found on the book shelf while babysitting the neighbor’s kids.  Not me. My first introduction to the genre was watching Dallas every Friday night with Grandma and getting hooked on The Young and the Restless during summer vacation because Mom had been watching it since 1978. I loved everything about soap operas: the angst, the love affairs, the break-ups, the never-ending drama.  However the real selling point on soaps has always been the characters. Yes, they’re fictional and obviously viewers know this. But when a soap is firing on all cylinders those fictional characters begin to feel like real people. This is exactly what J.R. Ward has done with The Bourbon Kings. She’s reminded romance fans why soaps are a branch of the same family tree.

The series has been marketed as a trilogy, which means we’re down to only one book left to wrap up all the sudsy shenanigans, The Devil’s Cut, due out in August 2017.  Immediately after finishing The Angel’s Share, I’ll admit, I had doubts.  Even with these books running longer at over 400 pages, Ward has set up a mess of family drama that still needs to be tied up in the final book. The deck almost depleted, let’s take a look at the cards we’re still holding for book three, shall we?

[Read more...]

Fri
Jan 20 2017 2:00pm

New Year, New Historicals!: Unusual Historical Best Bets for January 2017

I figure that by now it’s safe to say that many of us have broken our well-intentioned New Year’s Resolutions. However, instead of beating ourselves up over that leftover Christmas candy we binged on last Friday night or the hangover we woke up with on Sunday morning, why not vow to adopt a new resolution?  One that’s fun and easy to keep—read more historical romance! 

What unusual historicals are you looking forward to this month?

Breathless by Beverly Jenkins

Westerns

Breathless by Beverly Jenkins

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

As manager of one of the finest hotels in Arizona Territory, Portia Carmichael has respect and stability—qualities sorely missing from her harsh childhood. She refuses to jeopardize that by hitching herself to the wrong man. Suitors are plentiful, but none of them has ever looked quite as tempting as the family friend who just rode into town…and none has looked at her with such intensity and heat.

Duchess. That’s the nickname Kent Randolph gave Portia when she was a young girl. Now she’s a stunning, intelligent woman—and Kent has learned his share of hard lessons. After drifting through the West, he’s learned the value of a place to settle down, and in Portia’s arms he’s found that and more. But convincing her to trust him with her heart, not just her passion, will be the greatest challenge he’s known—and one he intends to win…

Honestly now, do you really need me to do a hard sell for a new Beverly Jenkins western?  Of course not!  But just in case you’re still hungover from the holidays, Kirkus calls this “sexy and smart,” Publisher’s Weekly says it’s “exquisitely written,” and Booklist declares it a “captivating love story.” This second book in a series, the heroine, Portia, is the niece of Eddy Carmichael, heroine in last year’s Forbidden.

[More historicals ahead!]

Mon
Dec 12 2016 3:00pm

The Top 6 Unusual Historical Romances of 2016

The tail-end of a very long year and the mad-cap rush of holiday festivities can fill romance readers with jubilance, dread, or an unholy cocktail of both. Thank goodness for the steadfast devotion of our beloved genre. Let’s take a look back at some of the best Unusual Historical Best Bets we featured at Heroes & Heartbreakers in 2016:

What were the best Unusual Historicals of 2016?

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.

Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden...

Jenkins is a rock star in romance and this first book in a new series made a splash earlier this year.  Starred reviews in Library Journal and Kirkus, who also named it one of the Best Books of 2016. The Washington Post declared, “This is historical romance at its very best.” What are you waiting for?

[Read more...]

Wed
Nov 9 2016 2:00pm

Suffragettes! Doctors! Knights!: Unusual Historicals Best Bets for November 2016

What Were the Best Historicals This Month?

November is the start of the season when many of us are short on time, so it’s fitting that this month’s historical best bets feature two anthologies. It’s also a good month for fans of small towns, medievals and friends to lovers. What not-your-usual historicals are you looking forward to this month?

Suffragettes!

Daughters of a Nation by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart & Piper Huguley

Daughters of a Nation by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart & Piper Huguley

The fight for suffrage was long, hard, and carried out on many fronts. In Daughters of A Nation, Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley bring you four novellas full of spirit, hope, and, most importantly: LOVE.

In the Morning Sun
by Lena Hart

With the election of 1868 underway, Madeline Asher’s mission is clear: educate and enlist the freedmen of Nebraska to vote. After losing the man she loved to war—and a small piece of herself along the way—Madeline leaves her life in Philadelphia behind, determined to reclaim her life’s purpose by making a difference in others.

With America’s Southern Rebellion at an end, so are the efforts of Union veteran James Blakemore. Tired of the injustices still plaguing the young country, he sets his sights toward his Canadian roots—until fate guides him back to the love he thought he’d lost.

Vowing never to leave her side again, James joins Madeline in her cause to help the freedmen of Dunesville, despite rising threats and violence. But with the enforcement of Nebraska’s anti-miscegenation laws, Madeline is forced to choose between a life with her new husband or the chance to shape a greater nation.

The Washerwoman's War by Piper Huguley

Atlanta, GA – Summer 1881. When Maime Harper arrives to substitute teach for the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, she bears witness to the injustice told by some of the older students who are washerwomen. Maime’s upbringing as the daughter of the most famous Black suffragette in America means that she cannot be silent and resolves to help her students find their voice and openly protest their mistreatment.

​When the Black Washerwomen go on strike, summer pastor Gabriel Harmon is brought in to mediate a solution but realizes the feisty leader of the opposition is the young teacher from Milford who previously rejected his attempts to pay court to her. When these two forces collide over explosive events during a hot Atlanta summer, only one will be able to win the battle. However, as they clash, Maime and Gabriel learn that there is another war, the war for the heart, that’s well worth the fight.

A Radiant Soul
by Kianna Alexander

In 1881, Sarah Webster is returning home to Fayetteville, NC to celebrate her mother's milestone birthday. Having spent the last two years working as a pastry chef in a Cheyenne hotel, she's a very different person than she was when she left. Her efforts towards women's suffrage, unknown to her family back home, are near and dear to her heart.

Carpenter Owen Markham, charged with building the gazebo that will serve as Mrs. Webster's birthday gift, is intrigued by the middle daughter of the Webster household, whom he's never met before. Her father has decreed that he and Sarah are suited, but when he hears her unconventional stance on women's role in society, he's not so sure a love match can be made.

Let Us Dream
by Alyssa Cole
Harlem – 1917. After spending half her life pretending to be something she's not, performance is second nature for cabaret owner Bertha Hines. With the election drawing near and women's voting rights on the ballot, Bertha decides to use her persuasive skills to push the men of New York City in the right direction.

Chef Amir Chowdhury jumped ship in New York to get a taste of the American Dream, only to discover he’s an unwanted ingredient. When ornery Amir reluctantly takes a job at The Cashmere, he thinks he's hit the bottom of the barrel; however, working at the club reignites his dream of being a force for change. His boss, Bertha, ignites something else in him.

Bertha and Amir clash from the start, but her knowledge of politics and his knowledge of dance force them into a detente that blooms into desire. But Bertha has the vice squad on her tail, and news from home may end Amir’s dream before it comes to fruition. With their pasts and futures stacked against them, can Amir and Bertha hold on to their growing love?

Writing for The Washington Post, author Sarah MacLean named this anthology the romance pick of the month stating that it “…shows how well the genre can speak to important matters in our past and present.”

[Read more...]

Tue
Oct 18 2016 9:30am

All Hallows Eve: October 2016 Not-Your-Usual Historical Romance Best Bets

October is a month filled with a mountain of miniature chocolate wonders and my secret guilty pleasure – candy corn! (Don’t judge–especially if you willingly eat Peeps ::shudder::).  It’s also a month that is chock full of historical romance.  This small list is but the tip of the iceberg – or in the case of October, the tip of the witch’s hat.  What not-your-usual historicals are you looking forward to this month?

Gender-Bending!

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society.  But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

A couple years ago Thomas was speaking to a group of librarians at an RWA conference.  When asked about what she was working on she teased us with “What if Sherlock Holmes was a woman?” and all our collective ears perked up.  The first in her Lady Sherlock series is finally out this month, the start of a historical mystery series that promises romance as well.

[Read more...]

Thu
Oct 13 2016 9:30am

The Evolution of the Sheikh Hero

The Sheik by Edith Maude Hull

No genre, including romance, exists in a vacuum.  It is reflective of its time and place in history, and of the societal mores and norms its writers and readers operate within.  As time marches on, so does genre fiction and nothing illustrates this in romance quite the way the sheikh hero does.

The sheikh hero in romance has always been problematic.  From Edith Maude Hull’s sensational 1919 novel, The Sheikh, to the bodice ripper era - the sheikh in romance used historical and cultural appropriation to define a predominantly white female sexuality.  And yet the sheikh hero lives on.  Even in a post-9/11 world when many thought that surely the events of that day would be the end of him.  But it wasn’t.  If anything the sheikh remains as popular as he ever was.  Why is that?  Why do we continue to be fascinated by the sheikh hero even knowing and recognizing all of these problematic elements?  The same reason many other popular romance archetypes persist to this day.  Nothing ever really goes away in the genre; instead it changes with the times.

[Read more...]

Mon
Sep 26 2016 3:00pm

World Traveler: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for September 2016

Love's Sweet Revenge by Rosanne Bittner

What “unusual” historicals should you be reading this month? 

With the kids now hustled back to school (and parents everywhere rejoicing), September’s enticing crop of new historical romance features some intriguing options for readers looking to escape Almack’s.  Whether it’s an English governess in Arabia, a rancher battling his past in the rapidly changing American West or medieval France, there’s plenty of opportunity for some armchair traveling this month.

Western!

Love’s Sweet Revenge by Rosanne Bittner

Their Passion Shaped a Nation

Over the years, Jake and Miranda Harkner have endured all the dangers a wild and brutal West could throw at them. Now, settled on their ranch in the beautiful Colorado hill country, they've finally found peace. But for a man like Jake Harkner, danger is always lurking, and the world may not be ready for an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman-turned-legend to hang up his guns.

Threatened by cruel men in search of revenge, the Harkner clan must be stronger than ever before. Yet nothing can stop the coming storm. With the Old West dying around them and the rules of this new world ever-changing, Jake vows to end the threat to his family no matter what it takes…

Even if it means sacrificing himself so his beloved Miranda may live.

Outlaw Hearts was first published by Bantam in 1993. Sourcebooks reprinted it in 2015 and the author found herself with a new series on her hands!  This is the third book in the Jake and Miranda Harker saga, and it received a Top Pick! from RT Book Reviews.  The fourth and final book in the saga is set for a September 2017 release date.

[Read more...]

Thu
Sep 8 2016 11:00am

4 Reasons Why a Romance Hero Stays a Virgin

All I Am by Nicole Helm

Half the fun of the romance is how subversive the genre can be when it turns societal conventions on its ear. Romance is a safe place where women can explore, and embrace, their desires in a world that has largely dismissed and maligned female sexuality.  No other trope does this quite the way that the virgin hero does.  Throughout history a woman’s worth has been wrapped up in her hymen, and nothing screams subversive in this genre than when the shoe is on the other foot. 

From its inception, Heroes & Heartbreakers has made quite a bit of hay over virgin heroes.  We’ve written about virgin heroes with historical romance, science fiction romance, and swooned over Jamie Fraser (a lot!). However as much as readers love virgin heroes, we don’t seem to naturally gravitate towards them in contemporary settings.

The reason for this is largely the societal conventions the genre likes pushing up against in the first place. Contemporary virgin heroes are seen as “too unrealistic,” which leads to authors wanting to explore this theme into “explaining” why the hot, hunky hero has failed to get lucky.  He’s hot, he’s hunky, why is he still a virgin?  There has to be a reason! It’s an interesting phenomenon, especially given that the genre has existed for years without feeling the need to justify why the heroines are virgins.  It’s OK for her, but if he’s one there must be something wrong with him.  Don’t believe me?  I recently took a deep dive into this issue and realized that our poor contemporary heroes get saddled with extra baggage to explain their V card.

[Chastity 101]

Fri
Aug 26 2016 9:30am

Back to School: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for August 2016

Silk, Swords, and Surrender by Jeannie Lin

What historical romances will you be reading this month?

If they didn’t get a jump start in July, August is definitely the time of year when parents everywhere look at the calendar and think, “Why are these kids not back in school yet?!”  It also, traditionally, means back to school clothes shopping.  And while you’re buying Little Johnny a new pair of shoes, why not spend a little money on yourself by indulging in some Not-Your-Usual historicals?

China!

Silk, Swords, and Surrender by Jeannie Lin

Be swept away to a land of silk and swords, passion and surrender 

From USA TODAY bestselling author Jeannie Lin comes a tantalizing new five-story volume. Take a journey to Tang Dynasty China and join five unique heroines as they fight, seduce and steal their way into their heroes' hearts. 

Rediscover four reader-favorite stories and immerse yourself in The Touch of Moonlight, the brand-new sexy novella from this highly-acclaimed author!

I loved the now-defunct Harlequin Historical Undone line but with a higher price point (between $2-$3 for a 50-70 pages story), it was hard for the line to remain competitive in a growing digital marketplace.  All of Lin’s previously published stories for Undone are included in this anthology, along with one brand new story–making this one a bargain for readers who skipped over the shorts the first go around.

[More Unusual Historicals Ahead!]

Wed
Aug 17 2016 9:30am

“There Has Only Been You”: Searching for Home in Lily Blackwood’s The Beast of Clan Kincaid

The Beast of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

Note: Because we'll be talking about a scene dripping with delicious despair, this post may contain spoilers for anyone who hasn't read The Beast of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood... but we promise it will make you want to read it. 

If you were to simmer the melting pot that is romance down to its essence, you’d be left with relationships.  All romance, at its core, is about relationships and people finding each other.  Finding that person who makes you feel whole. That person who completes the puzzle and flips the proverbial light switch in your soul.  The person who becomes your home, no matter where life takes you.

That’s what the hero and heroine in Lily Blackwood’s debut Scottish historical are looking for. Niall Braewick is the son of the Laird of Kincaid, spirited away by a warrior on the night his father lost everything to greedy men and was murdered.  Niall has been in hiding, honing his skills as a mercenary, biding his time, when his chance for revenge presents itself in the form of the MacClaren chief, the man whose family now controls the former Kincaid lands.  Falling for the MacClaren’s eldest daughter is an added complication he doesn’t need.

[Love is all you need...]

Wed
Jul 27 2016 3:30pm

Baby, You’re a Firework: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for July 2016

A Gift of Guile by Alissa Johnson

What historical romances should you be reading this month? Find out!

We’ve watched the fireworks (and tried to ignore our neighbors who were still setting them off on July 5th!), consumed an unhealthy amount of barbeque, and now it’s time to lounge by the pool, or on your favorite beach, with some of these historical best bets for July 2016!

Bad Girls, Bad Reputations!

A Gift of Guile by Alissa Johnson

She's a liar.
She's a con.
She's a thief.
And God help him, but he'll do anything to keep her safe.

Beautiful and conniving, maddening and brilliant, Esther is everything private detective Samuel Brass shouldn't want. Esther knows she's put herself in terrible danger, but nothing will stop her from making amends-not her family's enemies, not old fears, and certainly not the domineering, interfering, and undeniably handsome former officer of the Scotland Yard. Yet whenever he's near, Samuel makes her long for a life that can never be hers...and wish she were worthy of being saved.

Like the first book in the series, A Talent for Trickery, Johnson has earned her second starred review in a row from Publisher’s Weekly who says, “This series is pure pleasure.”

[On to more unusual finds...]