Fall Romance Report - Romance Aplenty! By Martina Bexte (September, 2006)
Another change of seasons is upon us. With the radiant colors and festivities that herald Thanksgiving and Halloween it's time to take things back indoors where it's warm and cozy. Whether you love curling up in front of a crackling fire with a contemporary or historical romance - or something a little spookier - the season's romantic selections are as gaily wrapped and varied as Halloween treats. Take a few minutes to decide which ones you'll pop into your book bag.
Reviewers Raves & Faves Belle gives two enthusiastic thumbs up to Dead Man Rising, the second Danny Valentine novel by Lilith Saintcrow. It's emotional, poignant, and absolutely action-packed. She says that Dianne Tyrell's Inn at Half Moon Bay is 'a breathtaking gothic romance'. And she calls Marriage by Design by Lynn Michaels 'a prime example of what romantic comedy should be: relevant, heartfelt and genuinely funny'.
Martina recommends Nora Roberts' latest romantic suspense, Angels Fall, another riveting, character driven story. Holly Lisle's recent chiller, I See You, is guaranteed to keep you reading well into the wee hours, while Anne Frasier gives us another heady and sinister brew in Pale Immortal. And Deidre Knight's Parallel Heat puts an intriguing and imaginative spin on alternate realities, offering not one but three satisfying love stories.
Betina Krahn offers up another action-packed romance in The Book of True Desires. In turn of the century Mexico, Cordelia Barnard sets off on an expedition in search of a legendary Mayan artifact. The only catch is that she allows her grandfather's arrogant and condescending butler to tag along. Diane Whiteside offers up a riveting historical adventure in Southern Devil where former Civil War enemies Morgan Evans and Jessamyn Tyler's passion re-surfaces as they join forces to claim her stolen inheritance. Historical Egypt is the setting in Bonnie Vanak's The Panther and the Pyramid where a Bedouin warrior and a lady of the Ton discover their true destiny. Sabrina Jeffries returns to 1820s England in Only a Duke Will Do - the lives of Louisa North and Simon Tremaine once again intersect and this time Simon is determined to make Louisa his bride.
Medieval Scotland is the setting of Jackie Ivie's The Knight Before Christmas, where neither Myles nor Kendran want any part of an arranged marriage. Then a raging blizzard strands the pair in a tiny cottage, where Myles has his hands full trying to tame the sprightly and single-minded Kendra. Sarah McKerrigan charms with her latest swashbuckler (second in her Rivenloch series), Captive Heart. A warrior born and raised, Helena of Rivenloch is desperate to save her youngest sister from a fate worse than death: marriage. After trying - and failing - to murder the groom, she takes his right-hand man, the dashing Colin du Lac, as her hostage. Shana Abe returns to her world of shape-shifting dragons in The Dream Thief; this time the daughter of the clan's Alpha and a jewel thief extraordinaire travel to the Carpathian Mountains to retrieve the fabled diamond Dratumr, which has the power to enslave the Drakun.
Teresa Medeiros returns to the lively world of the Cabot sisters in The Vampire Who Loved Me where the spirited Portia helps Julian Kane reclaim his mortal soul from the one who made him. Susan Krinard re-visits the enchanted forest realm in Lord of the Beasts following the lives of Cordelia Hardcastle and Donal Fleming and their mutual love for animals - Donal's enchanted heritage has given him the ability to communicate with creatures large and small. Lisa Plumley returns to Morrow Creek in The Rascal - fireworks ensue when saloonkeeper Jack Murphy tries pairing up rabble-rousing suffragette Grace Crabtree with a man of his choosing. Eve Silver's His Dark Kiss has young governess Emma traveling to the secluded Manorbriar estate to take up her duties only to find that behind every closed door lurk dark secrets and an even darker temptation.
Mainstream & Contemporary
In Man of the Month Club, Jackie Clune takes a hilarious look at what happens when British entrepreneur Amy Stokes finally heeds her biological clock. With no decent husband material around, she embarks on a wild merry-go-round of dating. Nancy Thayer's The Hot Flash Club Chills Out takes the menopausal friends on another zany outing at a Nantucket summer house where the quartet are determined on fun in the sun. The prolific Debbie Macomber heads back to charming Cedar Cove in 6 Rainier Drive - Justine and Seth Gunderson's restaurant has just gone up in smoke and before long their arguments about rebuilding strain their marriage.
Anjali Banerjee presents another enchanting story in Invisible Lives: Lakshmi is a young woman who can see into the hearts of others and ease their burdens. But when she falls for Nick Dunbar she must choose between their two cultures and face the possibility of losing her gift. Four best friends discuss their careers, their loves and their dreams in Caridad Pineiro's Sex and the South Beach Chicas. Deborah Smith delivers another poignant tale in The Crossroads Café where a disfigured actress and bitter widower are given a second chance to heal their broken souls. Dianne Tyrrel pens a breathtaking romance in The Inn at Half Moon Bay that sees Kelly Redvers finding much more than just a new business venture at a secluded inn.
Pat White heads back to the wrestling ring in Love on the Ropes, another amusing charmer that has DEA agent Jason McBride reluctantly going undercover as a pro-wrestler to catch a steroid trafficker. When he falls for prime suspect Sandy Ryan things get complicated fast. Rachel Gibson introduces another cast of engaging characters in I'm In No Mood For Love. After dumping her two-timing fiancé Claire Wingate figures her love life is over - until she bumps into an old childhood friend who's filled out really well and is far too tempting for her own good.
Mystery & Suspense
Carla Neggars presents another fast-paced, gripping story in The Widow: homicide detective Abigail Browning has never stopped looking for her husband's killer. When new leads surface she turns to search and rescue expert Owen Garrison for help. Barbara Freethy resurrects dangerous con man Evan Chadwick in Played - J.T. McIntyre and gemologist Christina Alberti are hot on the diabolical thief's trail, hoping to outwit him before he pulls off another heist and escapes into thin air. Jan Burke delivers more masterful suspense in Kidnapped: Irene Burke and police detective Frank Harriman risk everything to find a killer who preys on children.
Body Finder Harper Connelly is back in Charlaine Harris's winning paranormal suspense Grave Surprise. This time Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver get another chance at unraveling the mystery of a missing child Harper had failed to locate two years before. Patricia Potter presents another twisting and clever thriller in Tempting the Devil. While investigating the murder of three cops, journalist Robin Stuart finds herself at odds with the law, the southern mafia and on a more personal note, with FBI agent Ben Taylor. Series regulars, Dr. Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli, are back in Tess Gerritsen's chilling Mephisto Club as they try solving a string of murders that might be connected to a secret society.
Murder - and politics - are the order of the day in Jo-Ann Power's Missing Member where congresswoman Carly Wagner stumbles over the body of a fellow politico and soon finds herself on the run. A couple's secret blackmailing scheme turns deadly in Donna Hill's Guilty Pleasures after they put the squeeze on the wrong mark. And tag along on another Mira Morales adventure in T.J .MacGregor's Cold as Death. While cleaning up her bookstore after a devastating hurricane, Mira experiences another vision and before long she's on the trail of an actress's missing son.
Fantasy, Paranormal & SF Romance
Rising star Lilith Saintcrow is back with book two of her dark and gritty Dante Valentine series in Dead Man Rising. An ancient evil has returned, intent on destroying all those who attended the magic school where Dante grew up. Shirley Damsgaard continues her wonderful Ophelia and Abby series in The Trouble With Witches. This time the psychic librarian and her wisewoman grandmother head to Minnesota lake country to find a missing girl who may have gotten involved with a cult. Anne Frasier delivers another powerful and atmospheric story in Pale Immortal where reclusive author Evan Stroud develops a mysterious link to a long-dead serial killer who some believe was a vampire.
Nora Roberts kicks off her first paranormal series with Morrigan's Cross: 11th century sorcerer Hoyt Mac Cionoith must gather together The Circle of Six to destroy evil vampire queen Lilith before she and her bloodthirsty hordes decimate mankind. Nalini Singh makes a stunning debut in Slave to Sensation where three distinct societies - the cold, emotionless Psy and the highly emotional wolf and leopard shape shifters - battle for dominance. Christine Feehan and rising star Marjorie Liu share the honors in Dark Dreamers - Feehan presents another tale featuring her popular Carpathians and Liu delves deeper into the lives of her intriguing Dirk & Steele operatives. Deidre Knight continues exploring alternate dimensions in Parallel Heat as alien warrior Marco McKinley is enlisted to personally protect beautiful human solider Thea Haven. Their lives will be changed forever by the unpredictable perils of love, betrayal, vengeance and passion.
Michele Bardsley serves up a nice slice of humor in I'm the Vampire,That's Why, a wild romp where Jessica Matthews transforms overnight from single mom to sexy vampire's prospective mate. Catch the superwoman craze in Geena Showalter's fun-filled romp, Playing With Fire. Belle Jamison has a gift for alienating people but when she ingests a secret formula that gives her the ability to control the four elements, all sorts of nasty people are suddenly interested in her every move. My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding combines the talents of L.A. Banks, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, P. N. Elrod, Esther M. Friesner, Lori Handeland, Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Susan Krinard as they examine supernatural nuptials run amok.
Harlequin celebrates the October debut of their new paranormal category romance line Nocturne, where dark, sensual and atmospheric are the order of the day. Kicking things off are veteran storytellers Kathleen Korbel (aka Eileen Dreyer) and Lindsay McKenna: Korbel's Dangerous Temptation sees Zeke Kendall drawn into an enchanting Irish fairy realm and McKenna's Unforgiven showcases two families with hereditary paranormal gifts. On a more surprising note, effective January 2007 Harlequin with be mothballing its Bombshell line. Editors say the relatively short-lived line's demise is due to mediocre reader response.
AVON invites romance lovers to unite at a brand new website called Avon FanLit. The site is an outlet for aspiring writers and devoted romance readers to come together to share their thoughts and creativity. Check out the blogs, message boards, contests and the great prizes at AvonFanLit.com.
The chick-lit genre has been a lightning rod for debate in the world of books, raising questions such as: Is chick-lit really literature or just harmless fluff? and Does it accurately portray the lives of modern women? Eighteen renowned authors - including Jennifer Coburn, Raelynn Hillhouse, Harley Jane Kozak, Cara Lockwood, and Rachel Pine - weigh in with the best of chick-lit, proving that this genre deserves as much respect as any other. In addition to their story, each author elaborates on her feelings about the chick-lit label, and recommends literary fiction writers that have inspired them in This is Chick Lit, edited by Lauren Baratz-Logsted.
Claire Delecroix invites her fans to look out for her latest release, One More Time, the third title in her Coxwell series (after Third Time Lucky and Double Trouble). She says 'it's the first new Claire Cross title in five years and is a contemporary romance with both serious undertones and humor'. P.C. Cast invites readers to follow high school English teacher Shannon Parker in Divine By Mistake as she's transported to the mythic world of Partholon, where she is mistaken for the Beloved and Chosen of the goddess Epona.
No husband, no boyfriend, no pets and definitely no children. These were the rules that took magazine CEO Leila Ownes to the top. She's never rattled ... until she finds a baby in her kitchen on Christmas - and a sexy neighbor wearing next to nothing knocking at her front door in She's My Baby by Adrianne Bryd. Debrah Williamson invites everyone to sample her coming-of-age charmer, Singing With the Top Down. When Pauly and her eight-year-old polio-survivor brother lose their parents, the only family member willing to take the pair in is perky Aunt Nora, a wannabe Hollywood actress who shows up with a fat wad of cash, a 'cream-puff 1953 Buick Skylark convertible' and the promise of a new life in California.
Everything else in her life may be crumbling, but Ragni's determined to restore her great-grandmother's cabin in the Badlands. When three generations of women understand that God's gifts are powerful enough to speak across centuries, they discover the beauty of The Brush Stroke Legacy by Lauraine Snelling. Lauren Baratz hopes her fans will enjoy her latest, Vertigo, which opens with Emma Smith informing the reader that 'for seventeen years I was a good - some might say exemplary ...' But when she falls in love with a prison inmate she becomes convinced that if she is to ever have him, her husband must die.
Linda Hudson-Smith invites you to read Sweeter Than Temptation. Rain Madison falls for Joshua Renoir but feels she's not preacher's wife material; he believes quite the contrary. And in November, stay tuned for Linda's next release, A Silver Season, about a woman who has been widowed for two years and is ready to move on with her life. In Cassie Miles' October Harlequin Intrigue, Footprints in the Snow, scientist Shana Parisi is caught in a blizzard with a mysterious man in uniform. Luke Rawlins rescues her from danger, but it's the mesmerizing look in his eyes that captures her heart.
Maureen Child's October Harlequin Special Release is Bourbon Street Blues (Hotel Marchand). When coffee executive Parker James storms into the hotel bar after a frustrating business meeting, he spots the beautiful woman who sang at his wedding ten years before. Jazz draws them together but Parker's ex-wife threatens Holly with blackmail. Maureen's Silhouette Desire stories, The Part-Time Wife and Eternally, will also be released later this year. Check out Baited, Crystal Green's October Silhouette Bombshell release. Going sailing with her mentor and his family seemed a timely break for diver Katsu 'Kat' Espinoza. Until she saw the yacht's captain - Will Ashton, her treacherous, still-too-appealing ex - and her mentor made a shocking announcement: Kat was his newest heir! When they're stranded on a deserted island, Kat suspects that someone has a more permanent solution in mind.
Karen Marie Moning promises that Darkfever is a sizzling spin-off from her popular Highlander series, filled with captivating characters, paranormal elements, and unparalleled sensuality. When MacKayla O'Connor's sister is murdered she's drawn into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems. Her greatest challenge is staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed. Tamera Alexander is happy to announce her November release, Rekindled. Annabelle Grayson has been given a second chance at life away from Willow Springs. She advertises for a trail guide to accompany her to land waiting for her in Idaho - and a most unlikely candidate applies for the job.
And finally ... Do you love Halloween? Do you adore spine-tingling stories? Then visit us beginning October 1st when we'll dim the flickering house lights and raise the dusty red velvet curtains to bring you BookLoons' First Annual ThrillerChiller Theatre! Your Halloween loving romance editor, Martina Bexte, will get the audience creeped out with her menacing little vampire tale, Things Are Different in the Country. On October 7th our hunchbacked usherettes will unearth Shirley Damsgaard's spooky ghost story, Little Boy Lost. The week after that you and all your friends will get a chance to sink your incisors into Mario Acevedo's tasty shocker, Wedding Night Feast. For the grand finale, Anne Frasier will have you running down the aisles screaming for your mother after reading her sinister story, The Replacement. Don't dare miss a single installment of BookLoons' ThrillerChiller Theatre!!
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.