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  • Corrina Lawson 5:00 pm on 2018/04/19 Permalink
    Tags: A Bollywood Affair, a princess in theory, , , barbara ferrer, , , , farrah rochon, i'll catch you, , , something like love, Sonali Dev, , tonight and forever   

    The Great RITA Read: The Lost Voices 

    As someone who did not grow up reading romance, I’ve been more than impressed at the quality of the books that have won the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for excellence in Romance fiction. Out of over 65 books, I would say only three were subpar, and those suffered from not aging well.

    I intended to make this next article in my Great RITA Read series about how romance handles trauma, particularly female trauma, but I can’t do that until I talk about the elephant in the room with the RITA Awards: The authors it has failed to honor.

    Since 1982, no black author has won a Golden Medallion/Rita Award. This is particularly frustrating since one of the co-founders of RWA was a black woman, Vivian Stephens, a Dell and Harlequin editor who was committed to excellence in romance and to shepherding the success of romance authors.

    There are things RWA as an organization and RWA members can do to solve this problem, with the first being admitting the scope of the problem and listening to authors of color.

    But what I can do is recommend books by authors of color that you may not have heard about because they have not been marketed widely.

    I’m not recommending these books so readers can educate themselves. I’m recommending them because they’re damn fine books and they contain stories that deserve to be enjoyed by all readers. I believe firmly in the power of story, that stories can change the world, and that racism is causing so many of these brilliant voices to be lost.

    My list is by no means a definitive list of wonderful romances by authors of color; only a place to get started. To find more, I would urge you to look at the “Customers Who Also Bought” section at barnesandnoble.com under each of these books, which will bring you down a delightful rabbit hole to more wonderful stories.

    Pick these up, read them, enjoy them. And let them lead you to other great stories and voices.

    A Princess in Theory, by Alyssa Cole 
    This lovely book is about a former foster child who finds out that she is betrothed to an African prince. He’s determined to find his missing bride, she mistakes him for a pauper, and a terrific romance ensues. I received an advance copy of this book and my eldest daughter (24) grabbed it and promptly disappeared with it for days, to read it several times. I can think of no greater recommendation than that.

    A Bollywood Affair, by Sonali Dev
    I met Sonali Dev at an RWA event for readers and was thoroughly charmed by her, carrying my signed copy of her book home to read on the plane. I almost wished that plane ride had been long enough to finish the book because it was hard to tear myself away when we landed. It’s the story of a young woman from India who comes to the United States for an education, aware that she must be the best person she can be to appease the prospective in-laws who have taken care of her ever since she was proposed to by their son as a child. It’s the story of a young man, a Bollywood star, who wants to break away from family traditions. The book is lush and emotional and intense and real and I loved it.

    Something Like Love, by Beverly Jenkins
    I must confess I was unaware of the enormous body of Jenkins’ work until watching Love Between the Covers, a documentary about romance writers and readers. (I also highly recommend it.) That is my loss because the power of Jenkins’ voice comes through in her fiction. Her acceptance speech when receiving the RWA’s Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 is not to be missed. I picked this book to represent her because it’s one of my favorite romance genres, a Western, and the hero and heroine have a fraught first meeting when he robs her train, a train she’s taking to escape an arranged marriage in Chicago. The hero can’t get the heroine out of his mind, but his lawlessness and the bounty hunters on his trail are a serious impediment to romance, especially as the heroine is the town’s newly elected mayor. Of course, love wins out, beautifully.

    I’ll Catch You, by Farrah Rochon 
    This one is a sports romance, more specifically, a fun NFL romance, in which a pro football player and his agent get closer than Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. ever did in Jerry Maguire. This book is part of Harlequin’s now-canceled Kimani line for black authors. Other fantastic former Kimani authors include Reese Ryan, whose new book, Savannah’s Secrets, is just out from Harlequin Desire, and you can find a long list of Kimani books listed here at Barnes & Noble.

    Tonight and Forever, by Brenda Jackson
    This is the prolific and talented Jackson’s own favorite book and it’s one of those stories that romance does so well: tales of people who are healed by love. The heroines goes home to Texas after a bitter divorce, only to become involved with a doctor who is still mourning his late wife. It’s intense and emotional and sweet and heartbreaking and it will make you want to binge all of Jackson’s books.

    I’ve listed these books to get everyone started but rest assured, there are hundreds of wonderful stories from talented authors who have not nearly gotten enough notice. You can also look for books by Barbara Ferrer (possibly the only Cuban-American author to win a Rita), Alisha Rai, and Jamie Pope/Sugar Jamison.

    Please, make your own recommendations below in the comments!

    The post The Great RITA Read: The Lost Voices appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 6:00 pm on 2018/02/27 Permalink
    Tags: a court of frost and starlight, , a princess in theory, a rogue of her own, , , , , ashes on the moor, , , , devil in tertan, , ella quin, , , , , his wicked charm, , hurts to love you, , , , , , , , , , , , natural blonde instincts, , , sarah m. eden, , , the designs of lord randolph cavanaugh, the high tide club, the identicals, , , the sins of lord lockwood, , the world of all souls, too wilde to wed, , we can't wait!,   

    Romance Spring Preview: 24 of Our Most Anticipated Novels 

    Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but Spring will soon be here! There is no better time for romance to bloom than when the frost thaws and our world starts to become sunnier, hotter…you get the idea. Here are 25 of our most anticipated romances coming this season.

    February

    The Identicals, by Elin Hilderbrand (February 20)
    It’s a tale as old as time: twins who couldn’t be more different, find themselves living a life where the grass is always greener, and learning something in the process. Harper is low-key, relaxed…and a complete romantic disaster. Tabitha is dignified, with a high standard for taste (and the debt to match)…not to mention a teenage daughter she can’t reign in. By switching islands and living the other sister’s life, they find a way to bury the resentments of the past, and both find hope for the future.

    Hello Stranger, by Lisa Kleypas (February 20)
    Garrett Gibson has never taken no for an answer—that’s how she became a doctor in an age and a society where women were discouraged from doing anything of the sort. She may be daring, but she’s never taken a risk in matters of the heart…until she meets Ethan Ransom, a detective for Scotland Yard, and gives into the throes of passion. But when she is pulled into a dangerous case, the stakes are raised, and she could lose more than her heart.

    A Princess in Theory, by Alyssa Cole (February 27)
    We’ve all gotten strange emails claiming we’re betrothed to an overseas prince, right? Naledi Smith knows they’re a scam, and one she doesn’t have time for. But in this case, they’re true: Prince Thabiso has been looking for the missing girl he was supposed to marry—and when he meets Naledi, she thinks he’s nothing but a regular person like her. And so he decides to play along, believing he can convince her to love the man behind the crown.

    The Marquis and I, by Ella Quin (February 27)
    Charlotte has been kidnapped, thanks to her brother-in-law’s recklessness (and the enemies he made as a result). But then she is rescued by a man even more unscrupulous, and her reputation is in tatters. She wants nothing to do with Constantine, the Marquis who rescued her…but he is determined to win her heart.

    The Sins of Lord Lockwood, by Meredith Duran (February 27)
    Liam is on a quest for revenge after his wedding to Anna was taken from him thanks to a conspiracy. But Anna has not given up on the man she loves, despite his pleas to leave him to his life of vengeance.

    March

    A Rogue of Her Own, by Grace Burrowes (March 6)
    Miss Charlotte Windham has no intention of ever marrying, and the best way to ensure that no one would ever want to marry her is a simple scandal. Lucas Sherborne is the perfect man to rope into her plan—but instead, thanks to his own desires to marry a woman of influence and wealth, they end up at the altar instead. A marriage neither one of them truly wanted turns into a love they never knew they needed.

    Ashes on the Moor, by Sarah M. Eden (March 6)
    It is 1871, and Evangeline has been sent by her grandfather to a small mill town to teach—and if she fails, she will never see her inheritance or her younger sister, the last family she has left, again. She keeps her upper-class status a secret as she finds a community in the town, bonding with Dermot, an Irish brick mason and his son…but when her secret is revealed, she must piece together the unraveling threads of her life to find a happy ending.

    High Voltage, by Karen Marie Moning (March 6)
    The Fever series continues with Dani protecting the people of Dublin against the forces of evil gathering strength beneath the surface. Her bond with Ryodan is stronger than ever, but even the immortal cannot protect her from the horrors from her past.

    With This Man, by Jodi Ellen Malpas (March 20)
    Jesse Ward is back in the new installment in this erotic romance series, and his entire world is rocked thanks to a tragic accident. Jesse and Ava were happy. But then she ends up in the hospital, and they aren’t sure she’s going to make it. Which would be bad enough…except that when she does pull through, she cannot remember him. Or anything about the last sixteen years. So Jesse is once again given a problem he might not be able to conquer: seducing his wife, and proving to her that the last sixteen years are worth remembering.

    Accidental Heroes, by Danielle Steele (March 20)
    Someone on plane A321 is going to do something terrible, and only Homeland Security agent Ben Waterman can figure out who, and how to stop them in time. In this thriller, a TSA agent informs him of a suspicious postcard with a mysterious message, and together they must rise to the occasion and become heroes to save the day.

    His Wicked Charm, by Candace Camp (March 27)
    Lilah hates Constantine Moreland. To make things worse, his twin brother married her best friend. But when his sisters are kidnapped, she helps him on the case and discovers there is more to him than meets the eye.

    Hurts to Love You, by Alisha Rai (March 27)
    Evangeline Chandler is an heiress, which means she knows the rules: don’t embarrass the family, don’t reveal your true feelings, and don’t hook up with the help. But she can’t help the attraction she feels for Gabriel, even if they can never be together. That is, until they find themselves unable to stop being together.

    Twice Bitten, by Lynsay Sands (March 27)
    Elspeth Argeneau has been alive for almost two centuries, but it’s only after getting away from her very controlling mother that she feels like she can start to experience life. Between hunting vampires, she can certainly find time for a fling. Especially with a guy who has no idea what she is.

    April

    The Thief, by J.R. Ward (April 10)
    The Black Dagger Brotherhood saga continues with the story of Sola Morte, a human woman—and former criminal—who is trying to reform herself and live the life she needs to in order to keep her grandmother safe. What she doesn’t need is a distraction, especially from Assail, the only man she’s ever truly felt something for…though she doesn’t know the truth that he is a vampire, and deals in arms with the Black Dagger Brotherhood. But when his life is in danger, Sola must risk it all to bring them together again.

    Natural Blonde Instincts, by Jill Shalvis (April 16)
    After trying to do her own thing, Kenna has decided it’s time to join the family business and prove herself capable of taking the reigns. The problem? Her boss is hot, powerful, and not falling for her feminine wiles.

    The Designs of Lord Randolph Cavanaugh, by Stephanie Laurens (April 24)
    The titular character of this historical romance is loyal only to those closest to him—for everyone else, his top priority has always been his finances. But when an investment falls through, he is torn between seeking restitution for his losses…and seeking the heart of a brilliant woman.

    A Devil of a Duke, by Madeline Hunter (April 24)
    Gabriel is a rake of the first order, used to getting everything he wants from the world, and from women. Which is why it’s incredibly frustrating to be falling for—and bedding—a woman who will give him her body, but not her name or her heart.

    May

    A Court of Frost and Starlight, by Sarah J. Maas (May 1)
    A continuation of the Court of Thorns and Roses series, this story bridges the initial three novels with the latter tales in the series. Feyre and Rhysand are rebuilding their world following a devastating conflict: love, war, loyalty, and friendship collide for another adventure in the world of the High Fae.

    Someone to Care, by Mary Balogh (May 1)
    Viola has not been able to move on from the shame and trauma of being stripped of her title after the death of her Earl husband. Not the young debutante she once was, but not ready for the grave, either, Viola isn’t sure where she fits…until she finds herself falling for the Marquess of Dorchester, a notorious rake…and a man worth risking her limited standing in society for.

    The World of All Souls, by Deborah Harkness (May 8)
    There is much more to the story of Oxford historian and witch Diana Bishop and time-traveling vampire Matthew Clairmont…and this guide to the world in which they met and fell in love reveals all!

    The High Tide Club, by Mary Kay Andrews (May 8)
    In this perfect early-spring beach read, a woman is given an arduous task by an aging heiress: find the descendants of her long-deceased friends, with whom she was not able to make amends before they died, and bring them together.

    The Other Lady Vanishes, by Amanda Quick (May 8)
    1930’s California is a place of beauty and danger when a woman escapes from a sanitarium and starts a new life, only to be tempted by a widowed businessman and drawn into a murder mystery.

    Devil in Tartan, by Julia London (May 16)
    Lottie is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her home safe, including taking her Highland clan to the ocean for illegal whiskey sales and holding a captain from a rival clan captive after an attack on her vessel. Aulay never thought he’d let himself get bound by a woman’s heart, and yet he can’t help but want to possess Lottie as much as he wants her ship.

    Too Wilde to Wed, by Eloisa James (May 29)
    Since being jilted, North went to war and cultivated a reputation for being ill-suited to marriage. But he doesn’t know that his almost-bride, Diana, never intended to hurt him, and her reputation has paid a price as well.

    The post Romance Spring Preview: 24 of Our Most Anticipated Novels appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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