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Romance Report : Books to Warm Your Heart
By Martina Bexte (January, 2004)

January 2004 has arrived, bringing with it another great stack of romances from favorite authors as well as brand new voices. Before we take a look at these exciting titles, here's our Raves and Favs list ...

Reviewers' Raves and Faves

Boy Meets GirlKim loved Luanne Rice's Perfect Summer, a tale that 'makes you teary-eyed and that'll keep you reading until the surprising ending'. Melissa picked Donna Kaufmann's Cinderella Rules - beyond the typical romance, it's a charming tale full of quirky and endearing characters, making it the perfect winter read. Rashmi's nominee is Boy Meets Girl, the latest from the incomparable Meg Cabot, hilarious and 'amusingly developed through emails, IM's and diary scribblings, irreverent, sparkling and full of fun'. Finally, if you love romantic suspense as much as I do, these two are riveting. In Linda Howard's Cry No More, a woman will stop at nothing to find her kidnapped son, even teaming up with a dangerous, mysterious assassin. And in Have You Seen Her? by up-and-coming Karen Rose, FBI agent Stephen Thatcher tracks down a brutal serial killer who lures teenage girls to their deaths.

Historical Romance

TemptedKatherine Sutcliffe is back with Obsession, in which a dissolute Duke will do anything to find his missing lover. Shock, anger and betrayal are only a few of the emotions that rip through Trey's heart when he brings his beloved Maria back from the asylum where she was held on the edge of madness. Pamela Britton offers her many fans an enticing blend in Tempted - a Marquis determined to change his ways, a lady spy, mischievous monkeys, and an assortment of interfering relatives and villains. Newcomer Kathleen Eschenburg brings the Civil War to vivid life in Seen By Moonlight, a refreshing story about a black sheep and the penniless woman who'll do anything to keep her family safe, even marry local rogue Royce Kincaid. Gayle Callen's No Ordinary Groom is an action-filled story that takes readers from England to Afghanistan with the exploits of Miss Jane Wittington and Lord William Chadwick who, the lady quickly learns, is hiding his true nature behind a foppish exterior.

Mainstream & Contemporary

The Road HomeSusan Crandall returns to the town of Glen's Crossing in The Road Home, a poignant tale in which coming home helps Lily Bondreau and Clay Winters mend old hurts and find a second chance at love. In The Thing About Men by Elizabeth Bevarly, Claire Willoughby (a Martha Stewart clone) becomes a mother overnight after a fan dies, leaving Claire her daughter; though an investigator digs up a long lost uncle, Claire is positive that bad boy Ramsey Sage isn't proper father material. In Christie Ridgway's Do Not Disturb, reporter Angel Buchanan and lawyer Cooper Jones lock horns after Angel discovers the existence of her errant father's second family. And favorite Katherine Stone brings fans Another Man's Son, in which love, loss and the return of a prodigal all lead to an emotional, complex and satisfying story.

Fantasy & Paranormal

The Fairy GodmotherReaders have spoken and publishers are listening -- barely the beginning of 2004 and there's already a blizzard of fantasy and paranormal romances. This month sees the debut of Harlequin's new line LUNA with Mercedes Lackey's Fairy Godmother. Elena Klovis works from dawn till dusk for a demanding stepmother and two jealous stepsisters - the neighbors have taken to calling her Ella Cinders. When her fairy godmother offers Elena an apprenticeship, her life takes a positive and enchanting turn. Rachel Caine begins an intriguing new series, The Weather Wardens with Ill Wind. Joanne Baldwin, who commands winds and storms, is accused of corruption and murder - and Lewis, her good friend and only hope, is in even bigger trouble. Laura Marie Altom turns another classic fairy tale on its ear in Kissing Frogs. In the excitement of believing she's discovered a new species of frog, biologist Lucy Gordon kisses the amphibian. To her surprise the frog turns into Prince Wolfe of Gwyneddor. She's unknowingly released him from a curse, but will she be able to keep him from turning back into a frog?

Something DeadlyKaren Harbaugh follows up last month's Night Fires with Dark Enchantment, in which Catherine de la Fer and Jack Marstone fight to stay one step ahead of an evil sorcerer intent on claiming Catherine's powers. Lynsay Sands returns with Love Bites, the sequel to last year's amusing Single White Vampire - Etienne Argeneau unwittingly finds true love after one too many trips as a corpse to the morgue, where he can't seem to escape the attentions of Dr. Rachel Grant. If you need another vampire fix then check out Jaye Roycroft's Immortal Image, the latest installment in her one-of-a-kind vampire series. Rachel Lee also returns with Something Deadly, a trademark romantic suspense involving treasure hunters, angry spirits and intermittent narration by the heroine's dog. And last but certainly not least, Nora Roberts winds up her magical Key trilogy in Key of Valor. Malory and Dana have located two of the three keys needed to release otherworldly sisters whose souls were stolen by an evil sorcerer. Now it's Zoe's turn to find the last and most important key.

Until next month, happy heartwarming reading!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.