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Showing posts by: amber mcmichael click to see amber mcmichael's profile
Apr 26 2012 3:30pm

Romance in the Ruins: Archaeology and Adventure Romances

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersSun, sand, mysteries from times long past... There’s just something so inherently romantic about archaeology. Sure, it’s a lot of tedious digging, but it’s also a field where each discovery changes the way we think about ourselves and our history. And there’s nothing sexier than a hunky guy who is also smart and passionate about his work

I first became obsessed with archaeology romances when I read Elizabeth Peters’s Crocodile on the Sandbank. While the Amelia Peabody series is definitely a mystery series, the first book is also a romance.* A newly wealthy spinster travels to Egypt and meets a surly (but quite handsome) Egyptologist. Together, they uncover a mystery set among the tombs of Amarna. Elizabeth Peters studied Egyptology in college, which gives her authorial cred, but she’s also Barbara Michaels, who wrote romantic suspense novels filled with gothic elements. For me, the interplay between Emerson and Amelia are what kept me reading the series.

[In it for the romance? We approve!...]

Feb 28 2012 5:00pm

Fresh Meat: Lynsay Sands’s The Husband Hunt (Feb. 28, 2012)

The Husband Hunt by Lynsay SandsLynsay Sands
The Husband Hunt
Avon, $7.99/digital $6.99, Feb. 28, 2012

Lisa Madison wants a husband, and she has just the candidate in mind: Robert Langley. Trouble is, the infuriating man insists on seeing her as the impish girl she once was—even as every other gentleman in London has taken notice of her womanly . . . charms. When her beauty lands her in danger, it’s Robert who comes to the rescue, only to announce his affections are not of the romantic kind!

Robert saw enough sorrow in his parents’ union to know he wants nothing to do with marriage, which is exactly what he’ll be trapped into if he acts on his desire for the irksome siren. And then Lisa does what Robert least expects: gives up on him! As feigned indifference gives way, blistering passion burns at last. But just before the pair can succumb to hard-won bliss, an enemy with unfinished business lurks, threatening to destroy them both.

Do you know that feeling when everyone seems to be in on a joke but you? There’s that paranoid, uncomfortable niggle that has you wondering if they’re laughing at you or if you’re just too dense to get what’s so funny. That’s what the hero of Lynsay Sands’s The Husband Hunt has to contend with as everyone in his family and circle of friends is conspiring to open his eyes and change his mind about marriage to a girl he’s known all of his life.

[Open his eyes to love! Aww....]

Jan 30 2012 2:08pm

Fresh Meat: Stephanie Laurens’s The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae (Jan. 31, 2012)

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae by Stephanie LaurensStephanie Laurens
The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae
Avon, $7.99/$6.99 digital, Jan. 31, 2012

We joyfully request your attendance at the wedding of Miss Angelica Cynster

...but not until she and her hero confront a devious enemy and lay to rest an ancient grudge in the Scottish Highlands!

Headstrong Angelica Cynster is certain she’ll recognize her fated husband at first sight. And when her eyes meet those of a mysterious nobleman across a candlelit ballroom, she knows beyond doubt that he’s the one. But her heart is soon pounding for an entirely different reason—when he hero abducts her!

The eighth Earl of Glencrae has no choice but to kidnap Angelica, the one Cynster sister with whom he hadn’t wanted to tangle. But to save his castle and his clan, he must persuade her to assist him—and he’s prepared to offer marriage to seal the deal.

Stephanie Laurens winds up her Cynster Sisters trilogy with her newest release, The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae. In the previous two books, the Cynster sisters have been prey, the objects of a kidnapping plot set in motion by a mysterious Scottish laird. In this book, the Cynster sister is the one on the prowl.

[Ooh! Sounds different!...]

Nov 1 2011 1:00pm

RIMBY: Romance in My Own Backyard

Instant Attraction by Jill ShalvisYou hear a lot about accuracy when it comes to historical romance, but it’s really rare to hear someone crowing about how accurate a contemporary romance is. That’s something I find puzzling, considering the huge number of contemporaries I feel have poor research or just get things wrong. (Sandra Hill’s infamous okra-peeling gaffe comes to mind.)

I live in the mountains of Northern California. And while there are a few books set in this area, there are very few romances that capture the spirit of the environment here. Where the landscape is another character. And that’s important, because up here, the land shapes how we interact with each other.

The best examples I can find of Sierra-set romances are the Wilder Brothers trilogy by fellow Sierra dweller Jill Shalvis. The fictional town of Wishful has a similar vibe to many of the small towns in the greater Tahoe area. Some of the shops she mentions are similar in ambiance to local hangouts I’ve patronized on my trips up to there. The businesses in Wishful aren’t big chain corporations, but locally run small businesses. And while Wishful is fictional, I can tell exactly which elements of the real towns the author pulled from to make her own version of a small, mountain town.

[Feels like home to me...]

Sep 27 2011 1:45pm

Seducing the Single-Genre Romance Reader

Photo courtesy of Aurimas Rimša via FlickrBack in my dark days as a  bookseller, I loved to handsell fiction to readers who came into the store. Matching a book to a reader is a thrill. But every so often, I’d come across a reader who only read historical romance or only read contemporary. And convincing them to try something new was risky; to someone who reads across genres, the single-genre romance reader is a bit of a conundrum. There are so many good books they aren’t reading, simply because those books aren’t in their narrow reading preference.

Meeting fellow readers is lovely, but when you ask “what types of books do you read?" and hear “only Urban Fantasy” or “only Historical Romance,” it’s a bit of a letdown. It’s hard to gush about a favorite read to someone, only to realize that they don’t read the genre at all.

Getting a single genre romance reader to broaden her horizons is a bit like a seduction. It takes patience, persistence, and the right kind of chemistry.

[Sell it, sister!...]