<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...?"
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Jul 27 2016 2:30pm

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...]

Jun 20 2016 1:00pm

Sampler Platter: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for June 2016

The Lady Who Saw Too Much by Thomasine Rappold

Sometimes I want a robust meal with multiple courses, a bottle of wine, and why yes I would like dessert at the end.  Then there are times when I want small plates. I want options, lots of them, experiencing a variety of different tastes. For new historical romance, June is literally small plates month.


The Lady Who Saw Too Much by Thomasine Rappold

Cursed with prophetic visions and desperate to atone for a death she could have prevented, Gianna York swears she will never again ignore the chance to save a life. When she is hired by Landen Elmsworth to serve as companion to his sister, Gia repeatedly sees the image of her employer's lifeless corpse floating in Misty Lake. As subsequent visions reveal more details, Gia soon realizes her best chance to save this difficult man is by becoming his wife.

At first, Landen Elmsworth believes the fetching Miss York might be right for a meaningless dalliance, but he grossly underestimates her capacity for cunning and soon finds himself bound until death to a woman he may never be able to trust. Yet in the dark of their bedroom they discover an undeniable passion—and a capacity to forge their own destiny . . .

Rappold is a three-time RWA Golden Heart finalist and this is the second book in her Sole Survivor series.  Set in upstate New York, Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “…page-turning romance, which is enhanced by the angst between the protagonists and the undercurrent of mysticism.”

[On to more servings...]

May 18 2016 11:00am

May Days: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for May 2016

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Spring is finally here and with it a new crop of not-your-usual historicals to entice romance readers.  This month’s offerings include new books by two bestselling romance superstars, a historical western fan favorite, and shiver me timbers, pirates!

Self-Made Hero!

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better . . .

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable . . . the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Winterborne

I pretty much spent the entire second half of Cold-Hearted Rake pining to get my grubby little hands on Marrying Winterborne.  A department store owning hero and a reserved heroine who likes to raise orchids.  Shut up and take my money.

[Counting out change...]

Apr 14 2016 1:30pm

Love Is In the Air: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for April 2016

Dilemma in Yellow Silk by Lynne Connolly

After the final gasps of wintery weather from Mother Nature, spring has finally sprung here at Heroes & Heartbreakers.  Along with tulips and daffodils, there is a whole new crop of not-your-usual historical best bets that you’ll want to check out while avoiding that spring cleaning you promised yourself you’d do…eventually.


Dilemma in Yellow Silk by Lynne Connolly

Despite her cover as the daughter of the land steward for Lord Malton, Marcus Aurelius, spirited Viola Gates is tied by birth to the treacherous Jacobite legacy. Not that this keeps her from falling for the dashing Lord from afar. Despite his staid demeanor, Marcus is devastatingly handsome—and hopelessly beyond her reach. Then Viola’s father is mortally wounded and her secret identity revealed, sending her straight into danger’s path—and Marcus’s arms…

For years, he’d only known her as a wild child, the tempting—and forbidden—daughter of his trusted steward. But when Viola’s life is threatened, Marcus must act as duty—and his barely contained passion—dictates. Ferrying the bold beauty on an eventful journey to safer quarters, he offers her the protection of his name. Their tempestuous union might succeed in vanquishing their enemies, but will the chivalrous lord and his unsuitable wife surrender to the power of love?

The premise behind Connolly’s Emperors of London series is that the Old Pretender had legitimate children, now carefully living in secret, from a hidden first marriage.  This is the fifth book in the series, which has proven to be steeped in wonderful Georgian flavor and political intrigues.

[Now on to the self-made heroes and writing heroines ...]

Mar 14 2016 4:30pm

Pot O’ Gold: Not-Your-Usual Historicals Best Bets for March 2016

The Widow and the Sheikh by Marguerite Kaye

While I would certainly not scoff at a pot of gold, at the end of the rainbow this month is an intriguing line-up of not-your-usual historicals to aid in your temporary escape from Regency era ballrooms. Whether you’re looking for a hunky sheikh or a man who knows his way around a Victorian era bakery (yum!), it’s a shopping list of interesting options ahead for all your one-clicking needs.

Hot Arabian Nights!

The Widow and the Sheikh by Marguerite Kaye

Rescued by the sheikh! 

Abandoned in the desert, Julia Trevelyan finds herself at the mercy of Azhar, an imposing yet impossibly handsome Arabian merchant. Determined not to be intimidated by her rescuer—or their sizzling attraction!—she asks for his help… 

But Prince Azhar is in fact the rightful heir to the Qaryma throne, returned from exile to take back his inheritance! He knows a dalliance with the enticing English adventuress is out of the question, yet he can't deny the temptation to claim both his throne…and Julia!

Kaye returns to desert locales and sheikh heroes for the first time since the start of her Armstrong Sisters series in 2011. This is the first book in her new Hot Arabian Nights series for Harlequin Historical.

[Fall between times with these historicals ...]

Feb 23 2016 5:00pm

First Look: Lisa Marie Perry’s One More Night With You (February 23, 2016)

One More Night With You by Lisa Marie Perry

Lisa Marie Perry
One More Night With You (The Blue Dynasty #5)
Kimani Romance / February 23, 2016 (print) , March 1, 2016 (digital) / $6.50 print, $4.99 digital

Loving him is a dangerous job… 

Former DEA agent Josephine de la Peña loved Zaf Ahmadi once—and she's got the bullet scar to prove it. No wonder she holds a grudge against her hacker ex. But now, just as Joey's preparing for a new job with the Las Vegas Slayers, Zaf reappears, insisting she's in danger. The sexual pull between them is still as intense, and liable to hurt more than any gunshot. 

Even if Joey could forgive him for the botched drug bust that got her injured, Zaf can't forgive himself. Obsessively hunting for the criminals who killed his cousin warped his judgment. To protect Joey, he suggests he pose as her boyfriend. As long as he can keep emotional distance, he can keep her safe. Until the case presents him with a choice: pursue the vengeance he craves—or try to turn one smoldering night into so much more…

In Lisa Marie Perry’s Blue Dynasty series she has crafted a family that could rival those found on any primetime soap opera. The heroine in One More Night With You isn’t actually a member of the Blue family, she’s Charlotte Blue’s best friend, Josephine “Joey” de la Pena – a former DEA agent whose undercover work hit the skids when a bullet shattered her leg, leaving her with the permanent need to walk with a cane. However, just because she’s not a Blue, doesn’t mean she cannot get shanghaied by them.  She should have known a steak dinner at her favorite Las Vegas restaurant was too good to be true – especially when Marshall and the formidable Temperance Blue basically railroad her into investigating their football team for suspected drug dealers and users.

[She's back on the case ...]

Feb 18 2016 9:30am

Heart-Shaped Box: Not-Your-Usual Historicals Best Bets for February 2016

Tycoon by Joanna Shupe

February, a deceptively short month that brings a bonanza of options for not-your-usual historicals fans.  This month finds a few series ending, a few series beginning, and even a debut author thrown into the mix.

The Gilded Age!
Tycoon by Joanna Shupe

Sometimes the journey is more pleasurable than the destination . . .

In Gilded Age New York City, the bachelors of the Knickerbocker Club spend their days rubbing elbows with Manhattan’s most elite citizens—and their nights with its most intoxicating women . . .

Standing on the platform at Grand Central Station, Ted Harper is surprised by a fiery kiss from an undeniably gorgeous damsel in distress. He’s certain she’s a swindler who’s only after his money, but he’s never met a woman so passionate and sure of herself. Disarmed, he invites her to spend the journey to St. Louis in his private car—perhaps against his better judgment . . .

Clara Dawson has long known how to take care of herself, but the savvy shop girl is at a loss when she witnesses—and becomes entangled in—a terrible crime. Desperation propels her into a stranger’s arms at the train station, but she hadn’t expected Ted to offer her the protection she so badly needs—nor did she expect their chemistry to develop more steam than the engine of the train. He’s everything she never thought she could have, and she’s everything he didn’t know he wanted. But as her secrets begin to unfurl, their fledgling romance could be in danger of derailing before they arrive at the next station . . .

Let’s take a moment to talk about how crazy, stupid excited I am for this series.  Gilded Age New York and robber barons?  Yes please!  Shupe kicks off her new Knickerbocker Club series for Kensington Zebra with this prequel novella.

[Fond hearts and budding love ...]

Feb 16 2016 4:30pm

First Look: Nico Rosso’s Countdown to Zero Hour (February 22, 2016)

Countdown to Zero Hour by Nico Rosso

Nico Rosso
Countdown to Zero Hour (Black Ops: Automatik #1)
Carina Press / February 22, 2016 / $3.49 digital

Former Special Forces agent Artem “Art” Diaz is tattooed, muscular and undeniably dangerous. He's also deep undercover, posing as mob muscle for a deadly bratva boss. His mission: gain the Russians' trust. Then lead the strike team that will take them down.

Chef Hayley Baskov knows better than to get involved with someone with such close mafia ties, but the handsome bodyguard who brought her to this sprawling estate full of ruthless mobsters is inexplicably kind. A little flirtation may keep her safe amid the growing menace.

As Art's timetable for action escalates, so do his encounters with Hayley. Stealing what illicit pleasure they can keeps them both sane in the face of evil. But when things get dangerous, Art has to tell her about his assignment, bringing her deeper into the shadowy world of black ops…and putting her life on the line.

Now Art has a new objective: protect Hayley from the men who'd see them both dead.

I cut my reading teeth gnawing on mysteries, suspense and Gothics of various stripes, which has led me over the years to feel quite strongly that romantic suspense is the hardest romance subgenre to pull off.  The writer has to figure out a way to blend the romance with mystery and danger while somehow satisfying both camps of readers.

[Romantic suspense is hard to pull off, but Nico does a great job ...]

Jan 13 2016 1:30pm

Ringing in the New Year: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for January 2016

Less Than a Lady by Eva Devon

A new year means new beginnings, and a whole new crop of not-your-usual historical romances to land on your shopping list!  This month features new books from fan favorites, new releases in series and a bumper crop of actresses and servants.


Less Than a Lady by Eva Devon

To win a lord, you can’t be a lady…

Darcy Blake, Earl of Chase, is a soldier, rogue, and a loyal King’s man. Commanded to spy on the luscious actress Amelia Fox, Darcy must pretend to be her student for a court theatrical. He is certain he can school her in the art of seduction while discovering if she is a traitor. But to his shock, he finds Mrs. Fox teaching him an entirely different kind of lesson.

As London’s most popular actress, Amelia is famous at court, and she doesn’t have a husband to tell her what do. Unfortunately, the king has ordered her to train the rakehell, Lord Chase to act for the court. Before long, the Earl is driving her wild with desire and awakening her heart to love. As an actress, society dictates she can never be more than Lord Chase’s mistress, and Amelia has vowed never to be less than a lady.

When Darcy learns the witty actress is indeed linked to a traitor, he’ll have to decide if love or loyalty will rule the day.

A former Golden Heart winner, Devon has also published romances under the name Maire Claremont–most notably the dark Victorian Mad Passions series.

[2016 is bringing us many historical best bets ...]

Dec 24 2015 2:00pm

Stepping Back in Time: Reliving Some of the Best Not-Your-Usual Historicals of 2015

Outlaw Hearts by Rosanne Bittner

I have a deep, abiding affection for historical romance and while I like Regencies as much as the next gal, I’ve always been drawn to those historicals that veer a little bit off-the-beaten path. This is why I love putting together the monthly Not-Your-Usual Historicals column for H&H. I love seeking out historicals that feature unique elements, different characters and unusual settings. Some months there are just a few titles to highlight and other months it’s a bonanza. Here at H&H, we thought it would be fun to take a look back and highlight some of our favorites from 2015.

Outlaw Hearts and Do Not Forsake Me by Rosanne Bittner

Remember when historical romances read like sagas? Do you miss those days? Well Bittner’s now-series (20+ years in the making!) should be right up your alley. Reprinted by Sourcebooks this year, Outlaw Hearts was first published in 1993 and tells the story of a heroine who has lost everything and a hero who is a notorious gunslinger and wanted man. A favorite among fans (and the author!) the book saw further new life with the publication of Do Not Forsake Me, a brand new story featuring the same couple 26 years later. The author has announced that books three and four are currently in the works, so saga fans have even more to look forward to in 2016!

[Some of the best historicals of 2015 to read ...]

Dec 21 2015 2:00pm

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of 2015, Part 2

Radiance by Grace Draven

Each month, we ask our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read (or things, plural, if our bloggers declare a tie ’cause they just can’t choose). It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle a bit more.

It's the end of the year now, and so we've asked them for their top three books that made the year in reading so memorable. Without further ado, here's Part 2 (of four parts) of our bloggers best reads of 2015—and don't forget to check out Part 1, and stay tuned for Part 3 and Part 4:

Maggie Boyd:

My number one pick for Best of 2015 is Radiance by Grace Draven. I've re-read this book numerous times since purchasing it and have recommended it to anyone who stands still long enough to listen. It's the story of an arranged marriage between two different species - Brishen Khaskem is a prince of the Kai, a second son whose only marital worth is to secure an allegiance. Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, is valuable only as a pawn in a strategic marriage. To the Kai, the Gauri look repellent with their round eyes, square teeth and mollusk colored skin. To the Gauri the Kai look like monsters with their razor sharp claws, fang like teeth and eel like coloring. But brave hearts and compassionate souls are the makeup of our hero and heroine and they forge a bond that transcends cultural boundaries and resonates with love.

[More greats reads for the end of the year ...]

Dec 15 2015 3:00pm

Not-Your-Usual Historical Romance Best Bets for December 2015

The Lady Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold

The perfect picture this time of year is a reader, cozily snuggled up in their favorite chair, next to a roaring fire, immersed in whatever their latest lovely read may be.  The reality is that more often than not we’re all running around half-crazed trying to get everything set to rights before the holidays hit.  So why not take a moment to relax and unwind, or just do a little shopping for yourself this holiday season?  There are lots of tempting not-your-usual historicals on sale this month, and if you’re a medieval lover?  Well my friend, your ship has come in!


The Lady Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold

Madeleine Sutter was once the belle of the ball at the popular resort town of Misty Lake, New York. But as the sole survivor of the community’s worst tragedy, she’s come under suspicion. Longing for the life she once enjoyed, she accepts a rare social invitation to the event of the season. Now she will be able to show everyone she’s the same woman they’d always admired—with just one hidden exception: she awoke from the accident with the ability to heal.

Doctor Jace Merrick has fled the failures and futility of city life to start anew in rural Misty Lake. A man of science, he rejects the superstitious chatter surrounding Maddie and finds himself drawn to her confidence and beauty. And when she seduces him into a sham engagement, he agrees to be her ticket back into society, if she supports his new practice—and reveals the details of her remarkable recovery. But when his patients begin to heal miraculously, Jace may have to abandon logic, accept the inexplicable—and surrender to a love beyond reason…

I don’t always highlight historicals with paranormal elements, but I kick off this month with two of them. Rappold is a three-time Golden Heart finalist and her debut novel is the first in her Sole Survivor series for Kensington Lyrical.

[We have picked these historicals for you ...]

Nov 19 2015 1:30pm

A Bountiful Cornucopia: Not-Your-Usual Historicals Best Bets for November 2015

A Treasure of Gold by Piper Huguley

November means Thanksgiving, spending time reflecting on our many blessings and trying not to throttle Aunt Gertrude over the turkey when she makes yet another snide comment that you can’t seem to hang on to a man.  In the name of family harmony, why not ignore ol’ Aunt Gertie by diving into a historical romance?  The options this month are plentiful!

20th Century!

A Treasure of Gold by Piper Huguley

When you follow your heart, never count the cost.

Migrations of the Heart, Book 3

Trusting in the One who orders her steps, Nettie Bledsoe is determined not to deviate from her route to the charity kitchen. Don’t stop for anything, her sisters say. Pittsburgh isn’t like Georgia, they warn.

Yet when low moans of unholy suffering drift from an alley, she can’t help but investigate. It’s a man. The most beautiful man she’s ever seen. Despite his scandalous reputation, something within her responds to his sinfully rich voice. 

Jay Evans is trying hard to stay on the straight and narrow, and doesn’t want help from any church do-gooder. But until his wound heals, he needs help caring for his young daughter, Goldie. Especially since Nettie saw fit to fire Goldie’s barely competent nanny. 

Despite their mismatched backgrounds, Nettie and Jay fight a losing battle against their growing attraction. But it’s only when Nettie is kidnapped that Jay realizes that if he doesn’t get her back safe and sound, his heart will shatter into uncountable pieces.

This third book in Huguley’s Migrations of the Heart series follows middle sister Nettie as she learns to navigate the urban streets of Pittsburgh after leaving rural Georgia behind.  The beautiful cover is also a finalist for RT Book Reviews Best Cover of the Month poll.

[Enticing historicals to get you through the Thanksgiving ...]

Nov 10 2015 1:00pm

Please Madam, May I Have Some More?: A Not-Your-Usual Historicals Wishlist for 2016

Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist

What I appreciate the most about the romance genre is you can literally find just about any type of book to fit your mood.  I can read a tortured vampire hero one day and the next I can pick up a sweet just-kisses category romance.  But even as much as I love variety, historical romance will likely always be my favorite.  However it’s hard for me as a reader to have a steady diet of just one thing – so I’m always on the lookout for historical romances that give me something a little different.  I’m a girl who cannot live on Dukes alone, and while every month Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for October 2015 brings a variety of not-your-usual historicals to choose from, I’m just selfish enough to always want more.  What more could a girl possibly want?  Well, let me tell you.


I get it. I truly do. Dukes and gently born ladies dressed in finery provide readers with a ready-made fairy tale. And while that’s all well and good, what I really want is less upstairs and more downstairs. Maids, butlers, housekeepers, valets, yes please! Beneath this cynical candy shell beats the heart of a true romantic. In other words, I like to believe that footmen were capable of falling in love just as well as Viscounts.

In Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist, the heroine is a parlor maid with her sights set on becoming the lady’s maid to Mrs. Vanderbilt. However her careful plans go awry when she meets our hero, a new hire at the estate who needs a serious makeover. What makes this book so wonderful is that while the Vanderbilts play healthy secondary roles, it’s not their romance. It’s the romance of a lady’s maid and a wannabe footman. How can you not want more of this?

[A variety of historical plots for your pleasure ...]

Oct 22 2015 4:00pm

Plenty of Treats, No Tricks: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for October 2015

Star Dust by Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner

Historical romance is a lot like trick or treating–you never know what you’re going to get.  You can lurch around one neighborhood in your homemade zombie costume and come up with nothing but mini-boxes of raisins (if Dickens had written “A Halloween Carol,” Scrooge would have given out raisins—yuck!).  However, when you venture two blocks over you discover a wonderland of full-size Snickers bars and Reese’s peanut butter cups.  This month’s offering of not-your-usual historicals is a lot like the latter—there’s a little bit of everything and it all looks tasty!


Star Dust by Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner

Houston, 1962
Anne-Marie Smith wanted normal: a loving husband, two beautiful kids, and a well-kept house. But when she catches her husband cheating, she decides that normal isn’t worth it. Now in a new city with a new job, she’s trying to find her new normal—but she knows it doesn’t include the sexy playboy astronaut next door.

Commander Kit Campbell has a taste for fast: fast cars, fast planes, and even faster women. But no ride he’s ever taken will be as fast as the one he’s taking into orbit. He’s willing to put up with the prying adoration of an entire country if it will get him into space.

But Anne-Marie and Kit’s inconvenient attraction threatens both normal and fast. As the space race heats up, his ambitions and their connection collide and combustion threatens their plans… and their hearts.

When was the last time you read a romance novel set during the Space Race?  Yeah, never.  Barry and Turner partnered up for this self-published endeavor, inspired by their mutual love of early space history. They thought, there’s been books, movies, even TV shows–so why not a romance novel? Why not indeed.

[Fly us to the moon...]

Oct 8 2015 8:30am

First Look: M. O’Keefe’s Everything I Left Unsaid (October 13, 2015)

Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O'Keefe

M. O’Keefe
Everything I Left Unsaid 
Bantam / October 13, 2015 / $15.00 print & $7.99 digital

Fans of Jodi Ellen Malpas, K. Bromberg, and Joanna Wylde will be unable to resist this sexy, deeply intimate tale of a woman running from her past, and the darkly mysterious man who sets her free.

I didn’t think answering someone else’s cellphone would change my life. But the stranger with the low, deep voice on the other end of the line tempted me, awakened my body, set me on fire. He was looking for someone else. Instead he found me.

And I found a hot, secret world where I felt alive for the first time.

His name was Dylan, and, strangely, he made me feel safe. Desired. Compelled. Every dark thing he asked me to do, I did. Without question. I longed to meet him, but we were both keeping secrets. And mine were dangerous. If I took the first step, if I got closer to Dylan—emotionally, physically—then I wouldn’t be hiding anymore. I would be exposed, with nothing left to surrender but the truth. And my truth could hurt us both.

I have yet to meet a romance reader who, upon reading a really good book, doesn’t then want to run out and press that book into the hands of other readers.  Librarians do a slight variation of this practice in our professional lives, which we call reader’s advisory.  That practice of matching up the right books with the right readers. Molly O’Keefe’s latest endeavor as M.O’Keefe is the stuff reader’s advisory interviews are made of. It’s a crossover book. It’s an amalgam of romance, women’s fiction and suspense. It’s the kind of book I want to buy a million copies of and give it to every reader who claims they don’t like romance. Buckle your seatbelts kids and prepare to have your mind blown, because you’ll like this one.

[Everyone has a past, but sometimes you can't hide it ...]

Sep 9 2015 3:30pm

Shades of Autumn: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for September 2015

The Forgotten Daughter by Lauri Robinson

Is summer over yet? As the kids go back to school and we once again settle into a routine, we start coveting falling temperatures and snug autumn days curled underneath the blankets reading a good book. The end of summer brought a wide variety of unusual historicals to choose from, while this start of autumn seems more in tune with familiar, English, settings with some interesting twists.

The Forgotten Daughter by Lauri Robinson

Often the quietest people…

Josie Nightingale has always been the odd girl out. While her sisters swoon over guys, she's busy trying to change the world! Which isn't easy with Eric “Scooter” Wilson watching her every move.

…have the biggest secrets!

She may be out of his league, but the day Scooter rescued Josie from jail and discovered her secret, he vowed he'd do anything to protect her. And if keeping Josie safe means not letting this stubborn dame out of his sight—then so be it!

The final installment in Robinson’s Daughters of the Roaring Twenties series features a good girl with a big secret (ooooh, what could it be!) and a hero who has been pining away for her. Robinson’s next project has her completely switching gears – a Salem Witch Trial story due out from Harlequin in early 2016.

[Fall is near with these historical best bets ...]

Aug 13 2015 12:00pm

Hitting the Books: Not Your Usual Historical Best Bets for August 2015

A Most Precious Pearl by Piper Huguley

August is the time of year we start admitting that summer is almost over and autumn is just around the corner.  The kids are getting ready to go back to school and their parents are more than likely past ready to send them.  If you’re looking to fill out your beach reading for one last gasp of summertime surf and sand, look no further than this month’s intriguing line-up of not-your-usual historical offerings!

20th Century!
A Most Precious Pearl by Piper Huguley

Asa Caldwell returned from the Great War with nothing to show for it—as in nothing below his left knee. Forget about the journalism career he loved. His story is over. Done. 

Yet he finds the strength to journey to Winslow, Georgia, to get Ruby Bledsoe Morson’s sister out of trouble. Before he can bring Mags Bledsoe home, though, a spate of mysterious attacks reawakens his investigative instincts.

During the war, Mags did her duty to God and country by stepping into a management role at the textile mill. Now she’s been shuffled back to the rank and file—and Asa has her hard-earned job. Not only is the infernal man doing everything wrong, her plan for revenge against the mill owner who lynched her childhood sweetheart is farther out of reach than ever.

As they clash over almost everything, Mags begins to set fire to Asa’s soul, bright enough to dim the memory of the killing fields of France. Enough to give him a new mission in life—to make her feel the same way.

This is the second book in the author’s Migrations of the Heart series, which follows the Bledsoe sisters during America’s “Great Migration,” when large numbers of southern, rural African-Americans were relocating to northern urban industrial cities.  The first book, A Virtuous Ruby was an RWA Golden Heart finalist in 2014, and the author has a third book in the series planned for a November 2015 release.

[Where's the time machine?]

Aug 5 2015 8:40am

Let’s Talk About Sex, or Not: Sexual Tension For the Win!

Sweet Agony by Charlotte Stein

As long as the romance genre has existed, it has had unimaginative critics.  Sometimes even before the word “trash” is uttered, we get “Mommy porn.”  Women should know their place.  If it’s something you enjoy, if it’s something you take pleasure in, it must be wrong, and nothing screams wrong quite like dismissing readers and suggesting they are “dirty” for liking something.  What these critics are really reinforcing is the old adage that women shouldn’t like sex, talk about sex, and heaven help them, they shouldn’t want sex.  The truth is that if these critics asked a large sample of romance readers why they enjoy the genre, “I read it for the smokin’ hot sex!” is pretty far down on the list, if it’s on the list at all. Oh dear, silly, hopeless naïve critics. We don’t read romance for the sex. We’re looking for all the delicious things that lead up to sex. The tension, the chemistry, the foreplay, two characters who are beginning to realize that taking on the world together is ever so much better than taking it on by themselves.

To illustrate this point, all three of these recent releases, of wildly varying heat levels, illustrate that it’s the not the actual falling into bed we love – it’s the journey the characters take to get there.

[It's not just about the sex...]

Jul 20 2015 10:00am

Fill Your Beach Bag and Grab Your Parasol: Not-Your Usual Historical Best Bets for July 2015

The Gladiator’s Mistress by Jennifer D. Bokal

I’m convinced that in a former life that most librarians were carnival barkers.  We’re book pushers and summertime is our time to shine baby!  Here in the US, with children free from the confines of school, libraries embark on their annual summer reading programs–filled with programs, reading challenges and incentives galore.  Over time libraries have expanded this program to include teens and adults.  Summer reading selections for adults can include everything from trashy celebrity tell-alls to big, fat tomes with literary pedigree.  But what if your summer read of choice is historical romance?  Have no fear!  Because there is a beach-bag bonanza of unusual historical options to entice and intrigue as you lounge by the pool.

Ancient Rome!

The Gladiator’s Mistress by Jennifer D. Bokal

Phaedra, a dutiful daughter of Rome’s most influential senator, has no choice but to marry a man chosen by her father. But a chance encounter with handsome gladiator Valens Secundus sends her pulse racing—and, for the first time, makes her wish she could choose her own fate. They make each other a promise: she’ll insist on having the right to select her next husband, and he’ll do everything within his power to win his freedom.

A gladiatorial champion, Valens has fought his way up from poverty to become a star in the arena. The only two things he craves are his freedom and the luscious Phaedra, both seemingly far out of reach. But four years after their fateful meeting, Phaedra returns to Rome and soon becomes a widow, and Valens answers to no one but himself. They’re finally free to explore their fiery passion—while evading a powerful and wealthy new suitor of Phaedra’s—until Valens must return to the arena one last time. And in order for Phaedra to control her own destiny and claim her love, Valens will need to survive the battle of his life.

Bokal has published a few other titles, but this marks her debut with a big publisher (Amazon Montlake) and also the start of a new series, Champions of Rome.

[So let's be the champions for a few more unusual historicals...]