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  • Corrina Lawson 5:00 pm on 2018/04/19 Permalink
    Tags: A Bollywood Affair, , , , barbara ferrer, , , courtney milan, 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 4:00 pm on 2018/02/14 Permalink
    Tags: , courtney milan, erin knightley, feversong, heart-shaped box, , katherine locke, , once upon a marquess, , second position, the viscount risks it all   

    5 Novels That Will Romance You More than Valentine’s Day 

    Today is the day! The day of love! Yes, Valentine’s Day may be a massive conspiracy on the part of the candy and card companies to make a buck, but it’s one I’ve always bought into. There should be a day to celebrate all things romance, but if you’re feeling a bit “bah-humbug” on this holiday, have no fear. I have 5 romances that are even better than Valentine’s Day for you to fall in love with:

    Cold-Hearted Rake, by Lisa Kleypas
    A good rake always leaves me feeling romantic! Devon Ravenel is as notorious for his charm as he is for his bad-boy behavior. When he inherits a title—and all the debt that comes with it—he assumes responsibility for the late Earl’s widow, Kathleen (and her three sisters-in-law). Not used to the responsibility—or the emotions—that come with caring for others, Devon finds himself beginning to change into a man deserving of Kathleen’s love.

    The Viscount Risks It All, by Erin Knightley
    A Viscount with a broken heart after losing his first love to another man is given a second chance to win her back after she returns to Bath, brokenhearted and widowed. A classic romance with a miscommunication at its center: Felicity had no idea that Gavin loved her all those years ago…but has their chance at love been lost forever?

    Second Position, by Katherine Locke
    Second Position is a New Adult romance with so much angst that you’ll need a box of chocolate (and a box of tissues) at your side while reading. Best friends, ballet dancers, and former lovers Aly and Zed were torn apart by the ramifications of a terrible car accident—neither has been able to fully recover, physically or emotionally, from the devastation which ended both of their dancing careers. But when they reunite, can their renewed lust overcome the painful memories they share? Sexy and romantic in equal measure, you won’t be able to stop turning the pages.

    Feversong, by Karen Marie Moning
    Mac and Barrons are back in this thrilling conclusion to romance-pro Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. When the dark magic of the Sinsar Dubh—an evil book with a mind to match—possesses our heroine, Mac, Barrons must journey to the Fae courts to find a way to save her…before the dark magic destroys his love, and his world.

    Once Upon a Marquess, by Courtney Milan
    Judith Worth hates Christian Trent—the Marquess of Ashford, and her first love who ruined her family’s business. But their torrid past comes to roost when Judith must rely on Christian to help her out of a mess…and winds up falling for the one man she should hate. This one is sure to make you believe in love again.

    What novels have romanced you recently? 

    The post 5 Novels That Will Romance You More than Valentine’s Day appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Corrina Lawson 7:00 pm on 2018/01/11 Permalink
    Tags: barbara faith, brooke hastings, carolina dreaming, constance ravenlock, courtney milan, day beyond destiny, her every wish, , mary stewart, nine coaches waiting, , pages of hte mind, rendezvous at gramercy, , sun dancers, , , the rita awards, , virginia kantra, winner take all   

    The Great RITA Read: In The Beginning 

    It started in 1982 with four books: two historical romances and two contemporary romances.

    In the 35 years since then, the Golden Medallion Awards, given out each year by the Romance Writers of America for excellence in the romance, have evolved into the RITA Awards, and last year, had winners in 13 categories, some of which were not even on the radar in 1982, including paranormal romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, and romance with religious or spiritual elements.

    But there is a direct line from the first winners to 2017 winners, which included some of the biggest names in romance, such as Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra, Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy, and Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan.

    The romance genre has always featured women, it’s always allowed the heroine to have her story told, and it’s always valued her independence. And, now it also features LGBTQ stories as well, providing a happy ending for all those who love.

    As part of new series here on B&N Reads called “The Great RITA Read,” I’ll be exploring the history of the romance genre by reading as many Rita-winning books as possible, leading up to the announcement of the 2018 Rita Award finalists in March.

    Why this series? Because I love romance and it’s time that the RITA Awards gained the prominence of the other major genre awards, such as the Edgar Awards, given out by the Mystery Writers of America, or the Nebula Awards, given out by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Ameria.

    There’s little mainstream press coverage of the RITA Awards (or really, the romance genre as a whole) and when there is, it tends to be of the sneering or patronizing kind that characterized a recent article in the New York Times. Why does this happen? I’ll point out romance is the one genre largely written, published, and read by women, and the state of the world, and let you do the math.

    I’d rather talk about the stories.

    I had some preconceptions of what those early romances would be like. I thought perhaps the heroines would not be as three-dimensional or independent as modern-day romance protagonists; that perhaps they would seem tame compared to today’s heroines, and even that they would end up being damsels in distress. After all, even romance readers often say, “well, there were some older romances with heroines who are passive and need to be rescued.” I also thought perhaps writing styles might have changed and the older books would read as stilted or less interesting.

    Um, no.

    As I read the three of the first four Golden Medallion Award-winning books, Day Beyond Destiny by Anna James, Rendezvous at Gramercy by Constance Ravenlock, the two historical winners, and Winner Take All by Brooke Hastings, the contemporary winner, I had a collection of characters who would not be out of place in a current romance. (I could not obtain a copy of the fourth winner, Sun Dancers by Barbara Faith, alas.)

    Among these heroines were a diplomat’s daughter turned smuggler, an abused housewife, a mother, a painter who dared fall in love with a man who valued her, and a business owner determined to save her company, despite the machinations of a corporate raider. (Yes, dear readers, millionaire heroes go back to 1982 and beyond. Millionaire/billionaire romances are not new.)

    I did find one interesting element these three books had in common: they were all heroine-centered, meaning if the men had a point of view at all, it was brief, and they didn’t have a strong emotional arc.

    In Rendezvous at Gramercy, where the heroine is rescued from a shipwreck off the French coast and taken in by down-on-their-luck nobility who are smuggling in food and other necessities for the local townspeople, the style is very much in the vein of Mary Stewart’s gothics, such as the classic (and still wonderful) Nine Coaches Waiting. The reader does not get to know the hero, though he does eventually put aside his cynicism due to the heroine’s noble acts.

    Day Beyond Destiny was fascinating in several ways. One, the heroine is a clearly abused (married to a rapist husband) who finds love and tenderness with a Greek native while on vacation in Greece. Yes, she cheats on her husband, which I’ve been told “should not be done” in modern romance, though I’m reasonably certain it could be done and done well in a modern romance. (And feel free to comment with romances you love that have this element.)

    But the most fascinating element is this book is a three-generational romance, following up with the daughter and granddaughter, and, thus, the original hero actually dies later in the story. I know! Blasphemy in a romance today. Even worse, the second heroine’s story ends in tragedy, and the granddaughter barely has a romance at all but has mainly a coming of age story.

    Clearly, readers (and writers) have cemented certain “rules” since 1982 that would make Day Beyond Destiny a controversial romance today. But it’s also a terrific book and, by the end of the first story, I wanted to move to this Greek Island, or at least vacation there. The story sweeps a reader away to a new and fascinating world, which is something we still want today.

    Next up in this series: a look at Nora Roberts’ first Golden Medallion/RITA Winners: This Magic Moment and The Heart’s Victory, from 1982 and 1983.

    Yes, Nora Roberts has been writing that long—and writing well that long.

    The post The Great RITA Read: In The Beginning appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 6:00 pm on 2017/12/12 Permalink
    Tags: , a christmas promise, a cold day for murder, a highlander christmas, a kiss for midwinter, a rose in winter, a seduction at christmas, a winter scandal, becca fitzpatrick, bed of roses, biting cold, black ice, boy snow bird, bring me home for christmas, , , , , chloe niell, , christmas angel, Cold Mountain, , courtney milan, dana stabenow, dark celebration, deep kiss of winter, , , , elizabeth chadwick, , , , gaelen foley, , Get a Clue, girls made of snow and glass, grace burrows, , ice, jane villaneuva, , , , , john green maureen johnson, , , , la casey, lady sophie’s christmas wish, lauren myracle, let it snow, , , lord of ice, , , marissa meyer, , , , melissa bashardoust, mercedes lackey, , never love a highlander, , northern lights, once upon a winter’s eve, , , , shadows and lace, , , snow falling, , susan wigs, , , , the bite before christmas, the scandal before christmas, the snow queen, , the winter crown, , the winter sea, , winter fire, winter garden, , winter stroll   

    50 Delightful Winter Romances 

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but with bare trees and freezing temperatures, it can also be pretty bleak. That’s why we’ve got fifty winter romances on tap; so you can spend the long nights with couples falling in love instead of shivering under the covers.

    Devil in Winter, by Lisa Kleypas
    What’s the best way to get away from a conniving family? Marry a notoriously terrible man, of course. But there’s a catch: when she demands that her rake of a husband stay celibate for six months, Evangeline finds his icy exterior thawing enough to let her into his heart.

    Deep Kiss of Winter, by Kresley Cole
    An ice fey, Danii possesses a dangerous ability to cause excruciating pain to anyone not of her kind who touches her skin. But Murdoch, a vampire, is not one to be dissuaded by the cold…especially when his passion for her burns hotter than any flame.

    Once Upon a Winter’s Eve, by Tessa Dare
    This novella stars Violet Winterbottom, who is swept away by a mysterious stranger at the Spindle Cove Christmas Ball, when a man stumbles into the ballroom and collapses. The mysteries surrounding him are numerous, but none more than the heat between them…which Violet will lose forever if she does not figure out who he is, and what he wants, before the sun rises.

    A Kiss For Midwinter, by Courtney Milan
    Christmas is Lydia’s favorite time of year, but even holiday cheer isn’t enough to erase the scourge of an event that could have ruined her reputation. Thankfully, only one other person knows about it: Dr. Jonas Grantham. She would rather forget he existed, but Jonas has other plans: he’s in love with Lydia, and intends to turn all her winters warm for as long as they live.

    A Rose in Winter, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
    Erienne Fleming’s beauty is legendary in her village of Mawbry. Everyone wants to marry her, but unfortunately, Erienne does not have a choice due to her father’s debt. So when she is married off to the mysterious Lord Saxton, known for his terrible moods and disfigurement from a fire years before—Erienne knows happiness will elude her forever. That is, until she learns his true heart, and finds herself falling for a man she once thought of as a beast. It is at this inopportune moment that a childhood love tempts her away, and Erienne must make a choice.

    The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley
    Carrie is an ambitious author who has her sights set on turning the story of a Jacobite invasion in 1708 into a successful novel. Especially since one of her ancestors lived the event. But Carrie soon finds herself lost in the snowstorm of truth and fiction, where they begin to merge.

    A Christmas Promise, by Mary Balogh
    Ellie and Randolph are meant to be: their perfect match and impending wedding is the perfect balance of wealth and title, and they are destined for a perfect union. Except that Ellie does not love him…and all she wants for Christmas is to marry a man she loves.

    Girls Made of Snow and Glass, by Melissa Bashardoust
    Mina’s life is upended when it is revealed her heart is not human—it is made of glass, and does not beat. Her magical father performed the devastating transformation with a terrible consequence: a glass heart cannot know love. But Mina is determined to know love, and will seduce a king in order to do so…

    Lord of Ice, by Gaelen Foley
    Damien lives alone, haunted by the trauma of war. But when he is named the guardian of a young ward, he is tempted both to re-enter society. Though he may have fallen prey to the chill of war, learning to love again will warm his heart.

    Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish, by Grace Burrows
    Sophie does not treasure her place in society the same way her family does—which is why a few nights alone in an empty mansion sounds like her Christmas wish has come true. But when a snowstorm, an abandoned child, and a brokenhearted man kind enough to offer assistance all conspire to disrupt her plans, she finds herself wishing for something new.

    A Winter Scandal, by Candace Camp
    Thea Bainbridge has always played by the rules of her society—and so when an infant is discovered in her church manger, she knows a man who does not abide them is to blame: Gabriel, the Lord Morecombe. But Gabriel is not afraid of scandal…instead, he finds himself drawn in both by the mystery of the child’s true parentage, and Thea’s determined spirit.

    Never Love a Highlander, by Maya Banks
    Caelen made a terrible mistake, but now he’s making things right: by marrying the bride his older brother jilted to heal the ongoing feud between two Highland clans. Rionna, his bride, may be interested in preserving the peace, but she’s vowed never to give her heart away—especially not to someone cold and guarded like him. But when a mutual enemy threatens their family, Rionna and Caelen unite to defeat it…and in the process, fall in (very, very steamy) love.

    Christmas Angel, by Jo Beverley
    Leander knows women love him. That’s why he wants a convenient marriage, one that will allow him to live life as he chooses—on his terms, and in anyone else’s bed. So when Judith Rossiter, the widow of the late poet Sebastian, decides to marry him to provide for her children, the arrangement couldn’t be more perfect. But she has secrets, and Leander finds himself wanting to uncover them, like plundering a virgin snow…

    The Scandal Before Christmas, by Elizabeth Essex
    Holiday novellas are short, sweet, and have just enough steam to keep you warm in winter. Ian Worth, a soldier, needs to marry before Christmas—days away from his next deployment to sea. So when he decides to marry Anne Lesley, a spinster with no other prospects (so she won’t ask questions), he believes all is well. But a snowstorm means they are trapped together, along with their secrets, and the desire growing between them…

    Bed of Roses, by Nora Roberts
    Nothing more romantic than a winter wedding! Wedding florist Emma has it all: her dream job, dream friends, and a dream love life. What she doesn’t have? One great love…and that’s where Jack comes in. But love isn’t always a bed of roses, even for those in the business of making it beautiful.

    All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire, by Kerrelyn Sparks
    This book combines my favorite things: holiday cheer, and vampires. Toni is on a mission to do the impossible: prove that vampires exist, so she can spring her BFF from a mental institution, where she’s doing a terrible job of convincing people she was attacked by them. So she decides to be a bodyguard for the Undead…never intending to fall in love with Ian, a five-hundred-year old vampire.

    Bring Me Home for Christmas, by Robyn Carr
    Denny broke Becca’s heart three years ago…and then he went off to war. By Christmas this year, she is going to rid her heart of the memories of him by crashing her brother’s hunting trip in search of some distraction (and maybe a tempting guy or two.) But of course, she finds Denny, and the snowstorm between them is even more powerful than the one raging outside.

    A Highlander Christmas, by Janet Chapman
    Camry was a NASA scientist…so why on earth did she leave her job to be a small-town dog-sitter? Only she knows, and she’s determined to keep it that way, by avoiding her family for the holidays. But when her rival, Luke, shows up to bring her home, a battle of the wills erupts between them.

    The Winter King, by C.L. Wilson
    We have reached the fantasy portion of this roundup! This gorgeous romance stars Wynter, a man determined to seek vengeance on a foreign kingdom’s King by marrying his daughter. Khamsin is afraid of marrying the notorious Wintercraig king…but nothing could be worse than her father’s abandonment. And so what starts as an act of revenge soon becomes an act of love—even as evil rises up around them, and a dark magic must be defeated.

    Shield of Winter, by Nalini Singh
    Vasic is a soldier with too much blood on his hands to fathom. Living on the fringes of society, he is drawn back into action to protect people against a deadly virus. Especially Ivy, who is determined to fight back against the contagion—and who gives Vasic something else he is afraid to lose.

    Winter Fire, by Elizabeth Lowell
    Sarah Kennedy needs no one to survive. Not after everything she’s been through. But against the backdrop of the Civil War, she finds herself caring for a wounded Civil War soldier, haunted by a past of his own.

    Dark Celebration, by Christine Feehan
    The Carpathian series continues with this Christmas tale starring Mikhail, the Prince of his kind, who is determined to protect them from extinction. But when his enemies target his wife and daughter, he is forced to turn to tactics unthinkable to him before in order to keep them safe.

    Chasing Christmas Eve, by Jill Shalvis
    It’s never too early for holiday cheer…but Colbie Albright is feeling anything but cheery when she show up in the Bay Area after escaping New York and her fame as a renowned YA author. And when she ends up literally underwater and is saved by Spencer Baldwin, she wants what she knows she shouldn’t have…and come Christmas, she’ll have to go back to her old life.

    Merry and Bright, by Debbie Macomber
    Debbie Macomber returns with a Christmas story just hot enough to lift your spirits as the weather grows colder. She tells the story of Merry Smith, who is living the life she wants—family, career, and holiday cheer. But her mother decides to meddle and give her the gift she won’t give herself: a social life, with prospective matches galore! And while what Merry finds in the online dating world makes her happy indeed, will the fantasy come crashing down when reality sets in?

    A Seduction at Christmas, by Cathy Maxwell
    Fiona has learned the hard way what lengths she’ll sink to in order to save herself…even if it means taking down a rake of a Duke. Posing as his ward, Fiona does her best to get the better of a man who has spent his life distrusting women…but in this steamy tale, even he cannot help but fall prey to her charms.

    Let it Snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
    Another winter-themed anthology with beautiful YA stories about a Christmas Eve snowstorm that turns the lives of three teens into a magical night of love.

    Wintersong, by S. Jae-Jones
    The Goblin King steals Liesl’s sister, drawing her into the strange and magical world of the Underground in order to save her. This YA novel is rife with gorgeous descriptions, forbidden romance, and the devastation surrounding what happens when a girl is torn between family and fate.

    Ice, by Linda Howard
    I love a good military thriller…especially one starring a guy good enough to make sure his dad’s neighbor is safe during an ice storm. Except Gabriel is not that guy; he doesn’t even LIKE Lolly, the neighbor he finds himself having to rescue from masked strangers in her window. United against a mysterious enemy, determined to survive the storm, Gabriel and Lolly make their way to safety, and to steamy romance.

    Get a Clue, by Jill Shalvis
    Breanne has been jilted, so getting snowed in on the honeymoon she should have had sounds like exactly what would happen to her. But when she discovers her room—the last room in the lodge—is already occupied by a very cute, very cynical cop, they strike a bargain to share the room.

    Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts
    Nate Burke got burned watching his police partner die, and so he chooses to start over in Alaska, prepared to endure the cold weather. In a town called Lunacy, what else could he expect but to have an affair with a pilot named Meg…while stalking a murderer on the loose that only he can track down.

    The Bite Before Christmas, by Lynsay Sands and Jeaniene Frost
    This book has multiple stories for the price of one! An anthology focused on Yuletide romance starring immortals from both of these authors’ bestselling series, you’re in for a bloody sexy read.

    Frozen, by L.A. Casey
    Neala and Darcy have a love-hate relationship for the ages. But when they both wind up at the toy store determined to buy the last toy in stock, their battle of wills…and sexual tension…burns brighter than a Christmas tree.

    Shadows and Lace, by Teresa Medeiros
    Rowena has been gambled into service for a mysterious—and potentially murderous—knight. Little does she know that her situation has been his ploy all along in a quest for vengeance. This pawn does not expect to love her captor, and the knight never expected to desire his pawn…

    Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
    One of the most beautiful and devastating historical novels in modern times, Cold Mountain tells the story of a couple torn apart by the Civil War. Inman, a Confederate soldier, is determined to trek across the mountains to return home to Ada, the woman he loves. But home is not the same place it was when he left it, and danger abounds as Ada discovers the lengths she will go to in order to survive without him.

    Winter Stroll, by Elin Hilderbrand
    The Quinn family returns in this novel full of holiday hope and laughter…that is, until a series of unexpected guests show up at the Winter Street Inn and throw a few wrenches in the romances everyone thought were going so well.

    Winter Garden, by Kristin Hannah
    Russia is known as a cold place, especially during World War II. In this romance that spans time and space between 1941 and 2000, the story of a mother’s determination to survive a war transforms her relationship with her estranged daughters.

    Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
    This paranormal YA novel has serious swoons! The heartbreaking love story of Grace—a girl fascinated by the wolves who live in her backyard, and Sam, a human boy cursed to change with the cold—is dark, romantic, and perfect for chilly nights.

    Winter, by Marissa Meyer
    This sci-fi epic tells the story of a Princess named Winter who dares to fall in love with a palace guard in defiance of her stepmother. A revolution brims beneath the surface and she must decide whether to team up with a group of brave girls to fight—even if it means losing the man she loves.

    Snow Falling, by Jane Villanueva
    I’m super excited about this winter romance—because it’s the “book-within-the-TV-show from the CW’s hit show Jane the Virgin! In Miami at the turn of the 20th century, a girl named Josephine believes her life is perfect: she has a good job at a hotel, and has just gotten engaged…but then a mysterious railroad tycoon shows up to disturb all her plans.

    A Cold Day for Murder, by Dana Stabenow
    A classic detective story that takes place in the Alaskan north. Kate has left the D.A.’s office for a return to her job as a cop…and when a ranger goes missing, she’s the only one brave enough to face the cold.

    Black Ice, by Becca Fitzpatrick
    The classic snowstorm thriller gets a YA twist: Britt is ready to hike the Teton Range, but then her ex-boyfriend shows up. The ex-boyfriend she can’t stop thinking about. The one she gets separated from by a snowstorm…only to be taken hostage, at which point she can only hope that he still loves her enough to find her.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes, by Diana Gabaldon
    So, since this is the 6th book in the Outlander series, I’d recommend reading the other books first…but the title is so wintery, I couldn’t resist including it! (Mild spoilers ahead.) This installment of the epic romance finds Jamie and Claire on the verge of the American Revolution, and worried about whether they will survive the battle to come.

    Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen Oyeyemi
    A fairytale retelling like no other. In 1953, Boy travels to a small town and marries a local man, becoming stepmother to his beautiful daughter, Snow. But Boy’s growing hatred towards Snow only increases when her baby, Bird, is born dark-skinned, revealing her husband’s family as African Americans passing for white.

    Snowfall at Willow Lake, by Susan Wiggs
    Sophie travels to dangerous places to help those in need—but after surviving a terrible trauma, she returns home to Willow Lake. She’s spent enough time saving others; now it’s time to save herself. And what she finds does exactly that: a love with Noah, the local vet, who ignites a passion within her she never thought she’d feel again.

    Biting Cold, by Chloe Neill
    Imagine being turned into a vampire without your consent…that’s what happened to Merit. But she’s made lemonade out of a dark situation, turning her position into one of power, tracking down a supernatural creature with the goal of causing havoc.

    Cold-Hearted Rake, by Lisa Kleypas
    Devon Ravenel is a rake, and proud of it—he wants no other responsibilities than figuring out which woman to charm that week. But when he finds himself responsible for the fates of three young girls after inheriting their father’s earldom—and one of them, in particular, who beguiles and tempts him—he knows it’s time for his cold heart to let in a little warmth.

    The Snow Queen, by Mercedes Lackey
    A queen with a heart of ice is accused of attacking innocent people, and in response she decides to journey through her kingdom of winter to find the imposter responsible for damaging her reputation.

    The Winter Crown, by Elizabeth Chadwick
    Fans of the classic movie Lion in Winter will love this historical novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine. Frustrated with her role as mother, isolated from her husband, and tempted by the promise of power, Eleanor makes a dangerous choice to defy her King and seize power for herself.

    Marrying Winterbourne, by Lisa Kleypas
    Ambition can turn the heart cold, which is what has happened to Rhys Winterborne; a common-born man who has risen to success. So when he decides he must bed Helen Revanel, he is unprepared to be met with ice. Helen finds herself tempted by Rhys’ passion and looks, but when an enemy threatens their growing love, she finds herself willing to risk it all to keep it.

    The Winds of Winter, by George R. R. Martin
    Okay, I admit it: this one is kind of a joke. Winter has come, but will The Winds of Winter ever be published?? Only time will tell, and we all know Westerosi winters are long.

    What winter romances do you love?

    The post 50 Delightful Winter Romances appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 6:00 pm on 2017/12/07 Permalink
    Tags: a notorious countess confesses, a rogue by any other name, , courtney milan, , , , , , , Joanna Wylde, , julie anne long, , , , , , , one good earl deserves a lover, original sinners series, , reaper's legacy, , , slightly wicked, , , , trouble at the wedding, unclaimed, when he was wicked   

    A Romance Novel for Every Song on Taylor Swift’s reputation 

    It’s been over a week, we’ve listened to it over a thousand times…and now the moment has come: we’re pairing up romance novels with Taylor Swift’s newest album, reputation!

    “…Ready For It?”

    I immediately thought of Claire and Jamie for this song, so Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander is my pick! It’s fast-paced, like their adventures, but also sensual and sexy, like their relationship. “Younger than my exes but he acts like such a man” make sense since Jamie is younger than Frank (and Claire herself) in the series. And of course all the references to islands reminded me of the current Season Three (no spoilers, if you haven’t seen it!)

    “End Game (featuring Ed Sheeran and Future)”

    “Ahh, and I heard about you…you like the bad ones too.” This song is all about a couple whose reputation precedes them, making them probably the least likely to work. “And I bury hatchets but I keep maps of where I put ‘em” made me think of Devon Ravenel of Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas: he’s a rake who lives up to his name. But then he inherits an earldom and must step up to the plate and assume responsibiity for his status—and the honor of the late earl’s three sisters. “You’ve been calling my bluff on all my usual tricks” is what happens when he meets Kathleen, who knows better than to ever fall in love with a man like Devon…except, as the song implies, they both wind up wanting to be one another’s end game.

    “I Did Something Bad”

    Unclaimed by Courtney Milan is about a handsome Bachelor known for having unimpeachable character…who finds himself entangled with a secret courtesan, not the high-bred lady he assumed her to be. “I never trust a playboy, but they love me…” totally embodies Jessica’s character: she’s a woman who knows what she wants, and is willing to do “something bad” in order to get it…like team up with the bachelor’s enemies to take him down in exchange for money. But of course, doing bad things makes you feel oh so good, and Jessica and Mark are no exception to the rule.

    “Don’t Blame Me”

    The moody, rumbling, erotic nature of this song brought one threesome to mind: Nora, Soren, and Kingsley from Tiffany Reisz’ Original Sinners series. “For you, I would cross the line/I would waste my time/I would lose my mind/They say, “She’s gone too far this time…” are definitely words worthy of Nora, preeminent Dominatrix and submissive only to Soren, a Priest she credits with saving her life. And of course, there’s Kingsley, the owner of the BDSM club, Dominant in every way…except when it comes to Soren. “If you walk away/I’d beg you on my knees to stay…” The pulse-pounding romance between these three people over the course of the series is the perfect accompaniment to Taylor’s pining words.

    “Delicate”

    Two people with broken pasts—and reputations that have never been worse, as this song croons—meet and marry for convenience in A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean. It’s just business between them: Bourne runs a casino after being stripped of all societal influence a decade ago, and Penelope is just trying to secure her future after a string of failed relationships. But eventually their boundaries start to slip. “Is it cool that I said all that?/’Cause I know that it’s delicate…” That’s contemporary speak for the passion that ignites between this regency couple when they least expect it.

    “Look What You Made Me Do”

    A revenge song needs a worthy book—and I can’t lie, this one made me think about one particular villainess in the 50 Shades Series…Christian Grey’s ex-girlfriend, Leila. “I don’t like your kingdom keys/they once belonged to me…” those words might as well have come out of her mouth in Fifty Shades Darker. We all know that Taylor likes to parody the “man-eater” persona the media has developed for her, but in this case, Leila’s instability was totally real. “I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams”, indeed.

    “So It Goes…”

    This is one of the quieter songs on the album, but with lyrics like “You know I’m not a bad girl/but I do bad things with you” and “I’m so chill, you make me jealous” the book to match needed to have the right balance of sweetness with an undercurrent of passion. Sarah MacLean’s One Good Earl Deserves a Lover totally fits! Pippa is a good girl from a good family who wants nothing more than a quiet life…and the freedom to pursue science. But before she settles down in that life, she wants one little taste of true passion. So she goes to Cross, a notorious gaming hall owner, and proposes an arrangement between them—all in the name of science. But of course, Pippa can’t stay “chill” when it comes to Cross for long.

    “Gorgeous”

    This upbeat song is definitely worthy of a happily ever after! Julia Quinn’s When He Was Wicked follows the track of the song: a man and woman meet, and sparks fly…the problem—well, in the song it’s that she’s got “a boyfriend, he’s older than us…” but in this book, it’s a betrothal! And to make things worse, the guy she’s marrying is the cousin of the one she falls for. “You’ve ruined my life, by not being mine…” That’s exactly how Michael Stirling feels when she marries the guy anyway. But trust me, there’s a happily ever after waiting for this gorgeous couple.

    “Getaway Car”

    One of my favorite songs on the album spins a story about doomed lovers caught in the aftermath of their betrayal. “Nothing good starts in a getaway car”, the song begins…and the statement rings true in Reaper’s Legacy by Joanna Wylde, except for one thing: you can swap out “car” for “motorcycle”. A love triangle winds its way through the story of Sophie, Zach, and Ruger: Sophie and Zach slept together, resulting in their baby, Noah…but Zach’s a deadbeat dad, leaving his brother Ruger to pick up the pieces. But living—and loving—a man in a motorcycle club can be dangerous, and even when he tries to provide security for Sophie and her son, the past always finds a way of catching up with a speeding bike. After all, remember what Taylor says: “Us traitors never win…”

    “King of My Heart”

    This song makes specific reference to the “American” identity of the heroine (and of course, there’s been rampant speculation on the British identity behind most of Taylor’s new songs) so for this one I chose Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke, a story about an American falling for a Brit! Annabel does not want true love (just like the heroine of the song, who knows she is “better off being alone,”) but still, she agrees to marry a high-born man with a British title as a way to protect her new, “Southern” estate. The problem? Christian, the Duke of Scarborough, does NOT approve of Annabel’s choice. “Change my priorities/the taste of your lips is my idea of luxury…” And that’s exactly what Christian decides to do: make Annabel fall for him, instead, and become King of Her Heart.

    “Dancing With Our Hands Tied”

    Mary Balogh’s Slightly Wicked is about the ramifications of one reckless, erotic night that you think no one else will ever find out about. When Judith meets Rannulf after an accident with her stagecoach, she indulges in a passion she knows she will soon have to bury. (“First sight, yeah, we love without reason…”) But when he shows up at her aunt’s house, intending to court her cousin, Judith knows her secret will not be kept in the dark for long, especially when she can’t stop her feelings from pouring out. As this song says, “I knew there was no one in the world who could stop us/I had a bad feeling”, and soon enough, Judith and Rannulf are dancing with their hands tied, too.

    “Dress”

    One of the sexiest songs on the album deserves a romance to match. A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long made me think of some of the song’s steamiest lyrics, starting with “All of this silence and patience, pining and anticipation/My hands are shaking from holding back from you (ah, ah, ah).” Evie is an ambitious actress, and has charmed all of London…until her scandalous marriage goes down in flames. (Sound at all like a familiar narrative?) She escapes the tidal wave of gossip only to find herself tempted once more…by Vicar Adam Sylvaine, a man sworn to piety and prayer. “Even in my worst lies, you saw the truth in me…” Soon enough, they can’t stop their passion from overflowing, and the costumes come off to reveal their true hearts to one another.

    “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”

    You can finish the title of this romance novel with the title of Taylor’s diss track: If You Deceive…this is why we can’t have nice things! Two people caught at the center of a family feud (aka, a “narrative” they’d like to be excluded from, perhaps?) in the third novel in Kresley Cole’s MacCarrick Brothers series find themselves irrevocably drawn to one another despite the pain and anguish that their families have wrought. “But then you stabbed me in the back while shaking my hand…” What starts as a quest for revenge soon becomes a mission to keep the one thing they both hold dear in this Highland romance.

    “Call It What You Want”

    The Royal We by Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks is a sweet romance with just a tad of high-stakes drama: Bex Porter has a real-life fairytale in the form of Nick, the heir to the throne of England. But just like Taylor Swift, loving a famous person comes with consequences. “All the drama queens takin’ swings/All the jokers dressing up as kings…” is right: between the paparazzi, backstabbers, and family baggage, it’s going to take everything she has to keep their relationship together.

    “New Year’s Day”

    This poignant, piano-based closer is heartfelt and raw with emotion, all about what happens when the glitz and glamour fades and the reality of life sets in….and who will be by your side when it does. “I want your midnights/but I’ll be picking up bottles with you on New Year’s Day…” It’s not a New Year’s story, but that sentiment really reminded me of The Notebook: a love story all about choosing the harder road, but the one that’s ultimately true to who you are.

    What do you think of our pairings?

    The post A Romance Novel for Every Song on Taylor Swift’s reputation appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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