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  • Cristina Merrill 3:00 pm on 2018/03/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , his san diego sweetheart, irish thoroughbred, , , , nora roberts, , , the woman left behind, yahrah st. john   

    Romance Roundup: Summer Getaways, Highland Dragon Men, and Naval Officers 

    This week’s Romance Roundup includes a woman who is working hard to keep Dublin safe—and save humanity, three ladies who need a breather, and a former naval officer-turned-millionaire who has found a woman worth fighting for.

    High Voltage, by Karen Marie Moning
    Dani O’Malley had some pretty horrible things done to her when she was a child. Namely, she was transformed into a killer. But instead of brooding about it all, she’s managed to use her powers to protect innocent people and track down bad guys and keep the streets of Dublin safe. (Dani, we admire your ability to turn a bad—like, really bad—situation into something positive! Oh, and can we join you on your prowls? Because we love Dublin. Thanks!) Dani’s enemies are up something new, and it does not bode well for the human race. Our gal will get help from immortal hunk Ryodan in her quest to save humanity, but a lot of the major responsibilities will still be on her shoulders. Can she do it? And when it’s all over, can Ryodan give Dani a well-deserved foot rub? This is the tenth book in Moning’s Fever series. (Available in hardcover, audiobook, and NOOK on March 6.)

    As You Wish, by Jude Deveraux
    Three different ladies are having a bit of a difficult time, so they go to Summer Hill, Virginia in order to get some zen time. Kathy is happily married—until she finds out that her husband is in love with someone else. Elise isn’t loving her life or her husband—and that’s probably because her parents chose both for her. Oh, and Elise’s husband just knocked up his mistress. Then there’s Olivia, who at 60 has finally found true love. (She was married before but her ex-husband was, to put it mildly, a big doofus.) Here’s hoping they all find plenty of inner peace, that Kathy and Elise each find a man who appreciates them for the fabulous women they are, that Olivia shares some words of wisdom, and—best of all—that all three women develop a friendship that will last for the rest of their lives! This is the third book in Deveraux’s Summerhouse series. (Available in hardcover, audiobook, and NOOK.)

    The Woman Left Behind, by Linda Howard
    Jina Modell works in communications for a paramilitary organization (drones are involved), and the best part about her job is that she can remain in the relatively safe and comfortable environment that is Washington, DC. Unfortunately for her, she also possesses some valuable skills that get her forced into the field—where you get dirty. She’s put under the wing of team leader Levi, who is a tad skeptical that the un-athletic Jina will be able to do anything. But Jina has a lot to lose if she doesn’t make this work, so she trains harder than ever. Pretty soon, Levi is quite impressed with her. When Jina ends up alone in the desert after a mission gone wrong, she’s going to have to use all of her newfound skills in order to survive. You can do it, Jina! Just think, when it’s all over, you can rest in Levi’s muscular embrace—and then we’ll all take you out for a much-needed mani-pedi! (Available in hardcover, audiobook, and NOOK on March 6.)

    Irish Thoroughbred, by Nora Roberts
    This reprint is the great Nora Roberts’ first novel – literally, her first novel ever! It all starts with Adelia “Dee” Cunnane, who has lost everything in Ireland and has no choice but to accept her uncle’s kind offer to join him in America. She ends up working on the Maryland horse farm of Travis Grant, and let’s just say no woman would throw him out of bed for eating crackers! Dee soon gets swept up into Travis’ world, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he has a face and body worth crossing an ocean for. Dee’s pretty confident that she’s falling in love with him, but she’s worried their backgrounds may be too different. Can she get over her insecurities? And can Travis prove to her that he’s a great guy who won’t ever abandon her? (Step it up a notch, Travis, and prove how much you care!) This is the first book in Roberts’ Irish Hearts series. (Available in hardcover on March 6.)

    His San Diego Sweetheart, by Yahrah St. John
    Former naval officer and millionaire Vaughn Ellicott needs to keep the gold diggers off of his impressively muscular back. (Vaughn, we just want to massage you, we swear!) He finds help in the beautiful form of hotel manager Miranda Jensen. She’s set to inherit a ridiculous amount of money from her grandfather—but she needs to be married in order to claim it. They get married out of convenience, but they are soon completely swept up in each other. This is absolutely understandable, as Miranda is a stunning and intelligent woman and Vaughn has a big heart to go with his impressive…brain. We’ll go with brain. They soon start to have lots of fun together, both during quiet nights on his beachfront home and when they’re out and about on the town. But they both also soon realize that they just might want to be in it for the long haul. This is the fourth book in St. John’s Millionaire Moguls series. (Available in paperback and NOOK.)

    Highland Dragon Master, by Isabel Cooper
    Highland dragon man and impossibly cute hunk Erik MacAlasdair has suffered defeat at the hands of the English. He needs a break, and finds a very welcome distraction in Toinette. He once saved her life, and she is still extremely grateful to him. (Fact: Simply picking up a woman’s dropped glove will make said woman want to follow Erik to the ends of the earth.) They go on a seafaring journey together, and end up stranded alone on a cursed island. They will need to use every trick up their sleeves in order to, well, stay alive and defeat some pretty dark forces. Here’s hoping they accomplish what they need to do—and that they can enjoy at least one rollicking lovefest on that island! (Or two. Preferably two. Three wouldn’t be so bad, either.) This is the third book in Cooper’s Dawn of the Highland Dragon series. (Available in paperback, audiobook, and NOOK on March 6.)

    The post Romance Roundup: Summer Getaways, Highland Dragon Men, and Naval Officers appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Corrina Lawson 7:00 pm on 2018/03/01 Permalink
    Tags: , come spring, , it had to be you, jill marie landis, , lavryle spencer, lord of the night, morning glory, nora roberts, , , , , , the prince of midnight   

    The Great RITA Read: The “Best Romance” Award 

    As I was studying the list of Rita-winning books in preparation for this great adventure in romance reading, I noticed an anomaly.

    From 1989 to 1996, the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award included winners of the “Best Romance” of the year. Then again, in 1998, an award called was “RWA’s Favorite Book” was given.

    And, then, alas, the award was dropped.

    I say “alas” because the books that received this award were some of the best of the genre, represented numerous romance subgenres, and would be ones I’d point to even today as a place to start reading romance.

    The authors?

    LaVryle Spencer. Laura Kinsale. Jill Marie Landis. Susan Wiggs. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Nora Roberts. Diana Gabaldon.

    The books?

    Morning Glory. The Prince of Midnight. Come Spring. Lord of the Night. It Had to Be You. Born in Ice. Outlander.

    The sub-genres?

    Historicals set everywhere from late 1930s America, to Regency England, the American West, and Venice in 1531. A contemporary in which a supposed “bimbo” inherits an NFL team. A time travel story in which a World War II nurse steps through standing stones and into another era.

    Morning Glory was made into a movie starring Christopher Reeve. And, of course, Outlander is now a popular television series. All these books are still available and in print, over 25 years later.

    I applaud the taste of the RWA membership, who were responsible for honoring these books. The rest of the RITA Awards were judged by a jury of their peers. The “Best Romance” and “RWA’s Favorite Book” RITA Awards were chosen by an open vote of RWA members.

    That means these stories were not only quality, but they were also beloved by their fellow writers and thus have had had a huge influence on the genre.

    As someone who rarely read romance growing up, all these books save Outlander were new to me. I wish I had read them earlier, because they’re wonderful examples of the genre and probably would have hooked me on at least three of the authors.

    The Prince of Midnight is the story of a disabled former highwayman living in the ruins of a castle in France with a pet wolf. (Note: sold already!). Our hero is suffering from deafness in one ear and vertigo from a grenade that ended his rakish career. Then a young woman disguised as a man shows up, intent on learning from him how to kill people and avenge her wrongs.

    This heroine is fascinating. While the hero has obvious physical disabilities, the heroine has been emotionally destroyed by the systematic murder of her family and the failure of her friends and neighbors to protect them. She’s emotionally closed off, focused only on revenge, and is what we’d call today someone suffering from intense PTSD. She’s buried in her own anger, as it’s the only emotion keeping her functioning. She reminded me very much of the television show Jessica Jones, and I’ll just note here that Prince of Midnight won in 1989, many years before the superhero genre explored female emotional pain and trauma with any subtlety. So, the Prince of the title is attempting to reclaim his former panache, while the heroine is struggling to hold onto her anger, lest she fall apart. Of course, she eventually does, and it’s a powerful and healing moment. I immediately wanted to binge all of Laura Kinsale’s books but I have many more RITA winners to read before I can do that.

    This book should be a movie. Why isn’t this book a movie, Hollywood? No, scratch that. We need a British TV miniseries which casts all those wonderful British actors who pull off historical drama with panache. Did I mention the part where the hero has to train the heroine in swordfighting? Or how chilling the book’s description of the cult is?

    The book that did become a movie, Morning Glory by LaVryle Spencer, dials the world down to one farm in small-town Georgia, in an America on the brink of World War II and still suffering from the effects of the great depression. It’s a quiet, intense book about two broken people, a hero who’s never had a family and whose one friend betrayed him, and a heroine whose family believed her very existence was a sin. Slowly, these two shattered people find what they need in each other and create a family together, culminating in a beautiful love story.

    Come Spring by Jill Marie Landis is the prototypical “hero and heroine trapped in a cabin because of snow” book. In this case, the hero is a mountain man of sorts with a toddler niece to care for and he mistakes the heroine for the mail-order wife he needs to ensure the child’s safety. There is a class difference, as she’s from Boston money and he is assuredly not, and he must change to become the foster father the child needs and the person the heroine can love.

    Lord of the Night is a romance set in the Venice of the 1500s, where titles are everything, women are restricted to being wives or whores, and one women refuses to accept that her gender makes her any lesser, especially since she’s determined to become an artist. The hero is the head of what we’d now call the police, investigating a series of murders of men who are mutilated after death. Around them is all the intrigue of Venice, from the whispered meetings in canals to the festivals, to the way lordly men run amok when there is no one to check them. The descriptions of the heroine in the midst of artistic inspiration are amazing, as are the descriptions of her paintings, particularly those inspired by the hero. One note: the motivations of the killer, who turns out to be sympathetic and worthy of pity, may seem a bit dated.

    And then the contemporaries!

    It Had to Be You is Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ first entry into her now famous Chicago Stars series and it breaks all the supposed “rules” of romance. Sports hero. Check. Bimbo heroine. Check. But the heroine is so much more than the bimbo she projects to the world as a kind of emotional armor, and the hero is far smarter and savvier than the stereotype of the dumb jock. It begins with a hilarious opening at the funeral of the heroine’s father, who bequeaths her his football team. But Phoebe has more depth and more trauma than anyone gives her credit for and, like most great comedies, there is something very serious at the heart of this story.

    It was inevitable that a Nora Roberts book would be among those chosen for this award and Born in Ice is a terrific example of Roberts’ contemporary romances, the second in the Irish Born Trilogy, set in a small town in Ireland. The heroine runs the local B&B and the hero is a mystery writer whose books have been made into movies. They’re both holding close the damages imposed by their lack of parental love, and it takes chipping away at each other to get to the truth. In the meantime, there’s a lovely dream trip to New York City for shopping and a movie premiere. Easy to see why this story was chosen, as it’s an incredible fantasy to sink into and yet, it deals seriously with the wounds caused by family.

    Then there’s Outlander.

    The popular vote explains why Outlander is among these award-winning books. Gabaldon has been clear in interviews over the years that she believes the Outlander series should not be termed a romance. Her well-known insistence on “not a romance” was my biggest clue when it came to realizing that the “Best Romance of the Year” Award was not like all the others, as it seemed highly unlikely that Gabaldon would have entered the RITA Awards if she did not believe her book to be a romance.

    Nevertheless, Outlander was voted Best Romance of 1991. Note: having read the book, I believe it’s a romance that ends in a Happily For Now (as opposed to an HEA—a happily ever after). Later books in the series are part of the continuing story and, thus, probably not romance.

    Ending the “Best Book of the Year” award was one of many changes in the RITA Award categories in the 1990s. “Best First Book” was added and, for the first time, awards would be given in the paranormal and romantic suspense. I’ll take a look at those early paranormal books in the next article and see how that subgenre has changed over the years.

    For earlier articles see, The Great Rita Read: In the Beginning, The Great Rita Read: Nora Roberts, and The Great Rita Read: Young Adult Romance.

    Final note: A big thanks to the help of the RWA office, who researched the Best Romance Award and provided a copy of the original advertisement from 1989 that called for nomination;  nomination that resulted in the win for Morning Glory.

    The post The Great RITA Read: The “Best Romance” Award appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Cristina Merrill 6:00 pm on 2018/02/26 Permalink
    Tags: caroline linden, , exclusively yours, heather heyford, my once and future duke, nadine gonzalez, nora roberts, once again, , , , , , the sweet spot   

    Romance Roundup: Vineyard Owners, Professional Gamblers, and Miami Romances 

    This week’s Romance Roundup includes a Navy SEAL who needs help finding his missing daughter, a high-society lady who needs to save her reputation, and a music teacher who is about to have some vineyard-related summer fun.

    Some Kind of Hero, by Suzanne Brockmann
    Navy Seal lieutenant and official Keeper of Our Panties Peter Greene has a major problem—his 15-year-old daughter has gone missing. He ends up getting help from an unlikely source, romance writer Shayla Whitman. She may not have the sharpshooting skills that Peter and his kind have, but she is a parent herself AND she can give him insights into the female mind. (Peter, we’d all be more than happy to give you all of the insight you need any day of the week!) They’ll have to work really hard together in order to find his daughter, and if they enjoy undressing each other in the meantime then who are we to judge? Peter and Shayla, we all have faith in you. Find that kid, make sure she’s okay, and then take your new, blended family on a nice vacation! This is the latest book in Brockmann’s extensive Troubleshooters series. (Available in paperback on February 27.)

    The Marquis and I, by Ella Quinn
    Lady Charlotte Carpenter is in the ultimate reputation-destroying pickle. She’s just been kidnapped, and she’s being held hostage in an inn. If this wasn’t enough, she’s rescued by Constantine, Marquis of Kenilworth. Normally, getting rescued from ruffians is a cause for celebration, but not when your rescuer is well-known among polite society for, ahem, misbehaving with the wrong kinds of women. (Forget about her life having been in danger. Society will only care whether she was sullied in the process, because society stinks that way.) Charlotte’s first instinct is to keep her distance from Constantine, but the threats to her life aren’t over yet. Constantine sees this, which forces him to realize that he’s developed feelings for our gal. Oh, Charlotte, give Constantine a chance! He will prove himself worthy of you, and then the two of you can embark on a life together that is both respectable AND exciting! This is the fourth book in Quinn’s Worthingtons series. (Available in paperback and NOOK on February 27.)

    The Sweet Spot, by Heather Heyford
    Music teacher Jamie Martel needs a break from big city life, so a summer job at an Oregon vineyard seems like the perfect escape. (That’s right, Jamie! Inhale that fresh air—and all of that delicious wine!) Working at the Vineyards at Ribbon Ridge soon turns out to be one of the best decisions she’s ever made, and the owner, Hank Friestatt, is one of the most manly men she’s ever met. (Cue the fantasies of lounging on a giant picnic blanket while being fed wine by a nude, chiseled Hank.) Hank is seriously thinking of leaving this whole grape business behind, but then he meets Jamie, and realizes that he might have just been a tad lonely. Can they make a beautiful life together in rural Oregon? And will Hank feed Jamie wine—completely and utterly nekkid—on a warm and sunny summer day? This is the first book in Heyford’s Willamette Valley series. (Available in paperback and NOOK on February 27.)

    Once Again, by Nora Roberts
    This reprint offers two stories in one! In “Sullivan’s Woman,” model Cassidy St. John’s bad luck takes a turn for the better when she lands a gig modeling for hunky artist Colin Sullivan. He wants to paint her, and Cassidy soon realizes she wouldn’t mind posing nude for him if the situation called for it. (Nor would we, Colin!) In “Less of a Stranger,” Megan Miller agrees to help her grandfather run his amusement park. In the process she clashes with David Katcherton, who wants to buy said amusement park. Megan is reluctant to give in to this particular demand, but she soon realizes she wouldn’t mind giving into David’s more passionate requests. Oh, Megan, we know David comes off as a tad arrogant (well, really arrogant), but please give him a chance to show you how very, very good he can be! (Available in paperback on February 27.)

    Exclusively Yours, by Nadine Gonzalez
    Leila Amis and her new boss, Miami realtor Nicolas Adrian, have a chemistry that’s too good to resist. So they agree to have an affair for eight weeks before Nicolas leaves for New York City. Everything is going just dandily, but then Nicolas realizes he wants more out of their relationship. Leila refuses him, though, for reasons no reasonable person will ever comprehend, and he takes his poor, hurting heart away. They reunite one year later, and Nicolas is still feeling all “Why won’t you love me, woman?” He’s going to have to work really hard in order to win our gal’s heart for good. As for Leila, no offense, friend, but have you seen Nicolas’ body? Get on that ASAP! (Like, again!) This is the first book in Gonzalez’s Miami Dreams series. (Available in paperback and NOOK.)

    My Once and Future Duke, by Caroline Linden
    Sophie Campbell is a skilled gambler who also plays it safe. Her ultimate goal is to win a ton of money so she can be independent and live a life that doesn’t leave her at society’s mercy. (Sophie, we all admire your tenacity and resourcefulness!) Then she gets a most tempting offer she can’t refuse from Jack Lindeville, the Duke of Ware. If she wins a wager, he’ll give her five thousand pounds, which would mean she could be independent for the rest of her days. If she loses, he gets to enjoy her for an entire week. (Sophie, this sounds like a win-win for you because Jack is hiding quite the body underneath that tailored outfit of his.) Jack originally ventured into the gambling den to save his irresponsible brother, but now he’s all about Sophie. Here’s hoping they both realize they’d be perfect for each other—and that they can finally leave the gambling life behind them for good. (Available in paperback and NOOK on February 27.)

    What romance novels are you excited about this week?

    The post Romance Roundup: Vineyard Owners, Professional Gamblers, and Miami Romances appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 7:00 pm on 2018/01/24 Permalink
    Tags: a royal invitation, abundance, , allison pataki, , anne boleyn: a king's obsession, be my prince, brenda joyce, carolyn meyer, crimson bound, , dark breaks the dawn, devil's bride, , emma campion, , empress of the night, erin summerill, eva stachniak, ever the hunted, everless, , , , girl on the golden coin, graceling, , helen of troy, , , in the prince's bed, intisar, , jo beverly, john burnham schwartz, , , julianne maclean, , Karen Hawkins, , khanani, , kirstin cashore, kristin cashore, , long may she reign, lynn cullen, , make way!, marci jefferson, , maya rodale, medici's daughter, , nora roberts, , rae carson, red queen, reign of madness, renee adieh, rhiannon thomas, , rosamund hodge, , , sally christie, sara b. larson, sarah holland, , sena jeter naslund, shadow and bone, sisi, sophie page, sophie perinot, splendor, , the commoner, the cruel prince, the duke and i, the heir and the spare, the king's mistress, the perils of pursuing a prince, the prince who loved me, , , , , , the sisters of versailles, the switch, the trouble with princes, the virgin's lover, the wild queen, the wrath and the dawn, thorn, , to marry a prince, tracy anne warren, victoria, ,   

    Prepare For The Royal Wedding With 50 Royal Reads 

    If you’re anything like me, the new royal wedding is pretty much the only news you care about these days. But we have until May 2018 to wait until Prince Harry and Princess Meghan (sorry, I don’t care what the official rules say, she’s a princess!) tie the knot…so here are fifty royal reads to tide you over until happily ever after.

    The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
    The story couldn’t be better than a fairytale: a regular girl falls in love with a prince. Bex always thought something like that could happen to her sister, Lacey, the romantic one…but instead she’s the one who winds up falling in love with Nick, who just so happens to be the next in line for the throne of England.

    Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
    Witness the rise and fall of the Queens of England from the perspective of an influential man on the sidelines, as he experiences his own rise to becoming the man who pulls the strings behind the curtain. Who was Thomas Cromwell, and how did he become Henry VIII’s right hand man?

    The Virgin’s Lover, by Philippa Gregory
    The master of historical fiction weaves a captivating tale of royalty and romance—as Elizabeth I becomes Queen, Amy Dudley knows this means her husband will once again find himself in her thrall. Elizabeth knows she must marry to ensure her country’s political safety, but the only man she wants is the one she can’t have.

    The King’s Mistress, by Emma Campion
    King Edward III had a mistress—but who was Alice Perrers? Was she a manipulative, ambitious woman who sought a station higher than she should have, or was she a prisoner of her own circumstances?

    The Sisters of Versailles, by Sally Christie
    One of the greatest court scandals never before written about in English is the focus of this scandalous, steamy novel. Four sisters are thrust into the orbit of King Louis XV, each of them occupying a place in the King’s bed for enough time to change history.

    Girl on the Golden Coin, by Marci Jefferson
    A girl goes from poor exile to the center of the English and French courts, relying on her connection to royal Stuart blood to advance her station. But she makes a terrible mistake: refusing to become the mistress of the French King, and in exchange is burdened with the task of seducing the English one as punishment. But she cannot, under any circumstances, fall in love with him.

    Sisi, by Allison Pataki
    Married to the Emperor Franz Joseph, Empress Elisabeth of Austria and Hungary is beloved by her people—but despite the gilded lifestyle she leads, Sisi is tempted by another life all together. She loves another man, Count Andrassy, and is willing to risk her marriage, her children, and her country itself to keep him. But turmoil follows Sisi wherever she goes, and as the First World War gathers steam, she must decide where her loyalties lie.

    Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession, by Alison Weir
    One of history’s most fascinating Queens, Anne Boleyn’s rise to power is explored in this fast-paced and romantic novel in which a teenage girl from a scheming family finds herself growing closer and closer to the King, heedless of whichever women she must cast aside—including the current Queen, and even her own sister—to get there.

    Victoria, by Daisy Goodwin
    Inspired by the diaries of this long-reigning Queen, this novel follows another teenage Queen as she navigates the traditions and unspoken rituals of the monarchy…and in many cases, defies them, in order to forge an empire of her own.

    Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
    If you’re in the mood for some YA royalty, check out this series about a society where red-blooded people are controlled by those with magical, silver blood. That is, until Mare is revealed as a red-blooded girl with Silver powers. As she grows closer to the crown—and the brothers surrounding it—Mare realizes it may not be her destiny to become Queen of the Silver world, but the leader of the rebellion to destroy it.

    Dark Breaks the Dawn, by Sara B. Larson
    A reimagining of Swan Lake, this fantasy features a princess of the Light Kingdom on the cusp of coming into her full magical ability. But when she is thrust into a war with the Dark Kingdom—and realizes the King has corrupt plans to usurp her mother and control both thrones—she realizes that the cost of not controlling her magic could be the loss of her kingdom.

    Abundance, by Sena Jeter Naslund
    Marie Antoinette’s legacy is an infamous one, but thisliteary novel explores who she was before she met the guillotine. A child-bride forced to unite two countries; a beloved Queen who thrives on the love from her people; and an outsider unwilling to concede to elements stronger than herself.

    Helen of Troy, by Margaret George
    One of the first wars caused by a woman of royal importance, The Trojan War has inspired songs and stories for centuries. But who was Helen, the woman who abandoned her marriage in favor of an enemy prince?

    The Wild Queen, by Carolyn Meyer
    A Queen forced to relinquish her title and all she holds dear finds the courage to take control of her future—by returning to the place of her birth, Scotland, and securing another marriage in the hopes of taking back her throne. The one snag? The person she needs to dethrone is her cousin, Elizabeth I.

    The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renee Adieh
    Khalid is the Caliph of Khorasan, the ruler who marries a new girl each night—and orders her execution every time the sun rises. But for some reason, Shahrzad, a beautiful girl who volunteers to marry him—with plans to seek revenge for the murder of her best friend—is not killed on the first sunrise of her marriage.

    The Selection, by Kiera Cass
    The Bachelor meets Fantasy in this series about thirty-five girls competing for the hand of the Prince…and the throne that comes with it. What girl wouldn’t want that? Meet America singer, who is forced to leave behind the boy she loves to fight for a prince she is convinced she could never love.

    To Marry a Prince, by Sophie Page
    Bella doesn’t believe in fairytales, or true love. But then she is saved by a handsome strange—Richard, who just so happens to be the heir to the throne. But Bella’s fairytale romance soon hits a snag, when she butts heads with the royal family, feels like public property instead of a princess, and wonders whether an ordinary girl has any place loving a prince.

    The Commoner, by John Burnham Schwartz
    Haruk is the first Japanese woman not in the aristocracy to become a central figure in the monarchy. By marrying the Crown Prince, Haruko is derided by royal society and suffers because of it. But thirty years after the marriage, she is the Empress, and tasked with trapping yet another young woman in a marriage…this time, to her son, to secure his place on the throne.

    Royally Screwed, by Emma Chase
    Nicholas is used to getting everything he wants. And as a prince, he has everything anyone could ever want…except true love, which he finds when a beautiful girl defies him instead of bowing down. Olivia Hammond is exactly what he needs in his life…now he just has to convince the entire monarchy that she deserves him.

    Ever the Hunted, by Erin Summerill
    Britta Flannery tracks criminals with her bounty-hunter father…until he is murdered by her best friend, Cohen, the boy she thought she loved. To bring him to justice, she must venture to the far reaches of her kingdom, armed only with a magic she cannot control, and the bravery to face the truth about her father’s death.

    Long May She Reign, by Rhiannon Thomas
    She was twenty-third in line for the throne, but in this brutal and beautiful novel, Freya becomes Queen when the entire court is poisoned. But is she safe upon a throne she was never supposed to possess? And who can she trust, when she is surrounded by even more power-hungry people than before?

    The Red Queen, by Philippa Gregory
    The White Queen’s enemy has her story told in this Philippa Gregory novel; Margaret Beaufort has given her life to ensuring that her son, Henry Tudor, will sit on the English throne.

    Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake
    Three Queens, each born with a power that could spell their ascension to the throne…and each charged with the terrible task of killing her sisters in order to take it. Game of Thrones fans who love dark magic and badass female characters will devour this sordid, sexy YA.

    Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
    Alina is a refugee with incredible power—and when she uses it to save her best friend’s life during a war caused by dark magic, she is thrust into the royal world of the Grisha. These magical warriors are ruled by The Darkling, and while Alina knows she must keep her wits about her and her power under control in order to save her kingdom, she is tempted by the promise of power and passion.

    The Perils of Pursuing a Prince, by Julia London
    Lady Greer wants to avoid marriage at all costs, including if that means going off alone to find an inheritance controlled by the Earl of Radnor…also known as the Prince of Powys. But Rhodrick is notorious and possibly even villainous. Greer cannot fall in love with him before securing the way out of an unhappy marriage…but her dark prince has other plans.

    Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
    Katsa’s Grace—the special power that sets her apart from society—is killing people. She uses this power in her position close to the King, but in this classic and fast-paced fantasy full of conspiracy, court intrigue, and romance, Katsa wishes she were free to choose her own destiny.

    Everless, by Sarah Holland
    In Sempera, time is blood—and both are owned by the Gerlings, who extract it from the poor and vulnerable in exchange for adding time to their own lifespans. When Jules finds herself working at the Gerling estate—and closer to the past she thought she’d escaped long ago—the secrets she finds in the blood are more than she bargained for.

    The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black
    When Jude was a child, her parents were murdered and she was sent away to live with the Faeries at their mysterious High Court. Now, she wants to become one of them, despite the derision with which Prince Cardan views humans.

    Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, by Sarah Maclean
    Lady Calpurnia has no interest in being a typical ‘lady’, even if it means she remainds unmarried. But being unmarried doesn’t mean going unsatisfied, and so she decides to find a partner willing to break the rules with her, like Gabriel St. John, whose reputation for being wicked is exactly what she’s looking for.

    Crimson Bound, by Rosamund Hodge
    Rachelle is a servant to the realm, one of a select few capable of fighting dangerous creatures and protecting the prince. But she hates Armand, the man whose life she is supposed to put before her own. Court conspiracies, dark magic, and forbidden love run amok in this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

    Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
    Elisa is the younger princess, married to a King in secret…and despite thinking she’s not special, she is the one destined to save her kingdom.

    The Duke and I, by Julia Quinn
    Simon Basset and Daphne Bridgerton are about to become engaged…but it’s really all a ruse to keep Simon out of the clutches of society’s rules, and Daphne hopes to find a suitor of her own since she has the stamp of approval from a Duke. But despite their courtship of convenience, they find themselves falling for one another.

    The Secret, by Julie Garwood
    Judith has traveled from her English home to the Highlands in order to help an old friend through childbirth…but the truth is she comes from Highland royalty, as the daughter of Laird Maclean. She only intended to learn about her father, but instead falls for another Laird, Ian, who confuses and excites her and draws her closer to a place she never thought she could call home.

    Sins of a Wicked Duke, by Sophie Jordan
    Fallon is working class, never meant to fall in love with someone above her station. But when she disguises herself as a footman in a wealthy household, she falls head over heels for her boss: Dominic Hale. Dominic finds himself intrigued by his young employee, but a torrid romance could ruin them both.

    The Switch, by Lynsay Sands
    Twin sisters escaping their uncle take turns pretending to be a boy in order to keep themselves safe. But Charlie winds up falling for Lord Jeremy Radcliffe, and she finds it more difficult to keep up the ruse while she’s in danger of losing her heart.

    Devil’s Bride, by Stephanie Laurens
    Devil has lived up to his name and compromised the honor of governess Honoria Wetherby…but instead of giving in to his rakish ways he winds up proposing marriage. But Honoria cares little for keeping her honor; she wants a lover who can live up to her expectations—and quickly puts Devil to the test.

    The Prince Who Loved Me, by Karen Hawkins
    Prince Alexsey is a notorious flirt with no plans to marry. So when he meets Bronwyn—a girl who prefers books to vain matters of beauty—he is convinced his Grandmother won’t allow the match. But when sparks fly between them, and a wicked stepmother gets in the way of their newfound passion, they have to prove that an ordinary girl and a prince can find happily ever after.

    In the Prince’s Bed, by Sabrina Jeffries
    In order to secure her lost inheritance and save her family’s prospects, Katherine will do anything…including marry a childhood friend. But Alexander Black, the Earl of Iverslley, also needs a woman of wealth to warm his bed, and so he does what any rake would do to get the other man out of the way.

    The Serpent Prince, by Elizabeth Hoyt
    In this sensuous historical romance, Lucy lives a content country life—until her routine is disrupted by a naked Viscount beaten half to death, whom she must heal back to health. But while Simon is consumed by his quest for vengeance against his attackers, Lucy is consumed by her desire for him.

    A Royal Invitation, by Nora Roberts
    Two love stories intertwine in this romance series from bestselling author Nora Roberts. In one, Prince Bennett is obsessed with Lady Hannah and will not rest until she belongs to him. In the second, a princess flees the confines of the palace in search of a simpler life…but falling for Vermont archaeologist Delaney Caine proves to be anything but simple, indeed.

    The Trouble with Princes, by Tracy Anne Warren
    Ariadne is ready to make a change: when she receivs her inheritance, she will publicl declare her intent never to marry, but to find a lover instead. Rupert Whyte is the prince of a small kingdom, also determined to enjoy his freedom…that is, until marriage gets in the way. But while he seeks an independent lifestyle, he fears Ariadne is about to make a terrible mistake…

    The Heir and the Spare, by Maya Rodale
    An American has charmed London society with her sparkling wit and personality. But Emilia only has the intention of being charmed by one man—Lord Phillip. However, the man she thinks is Phillip, is actually his twin, Devon, the spare child forced to endure society rituals while his brother, the heir, spends their fortune. But Emilia does not know the difference, and unwittingly finds herself being courted by two men who share the same face.

    Be My Prince, by Julianne Maclean
    Forced into an impossible situation, Lady Alexandra is tasked with the impossible: she must become engaged to Prince Randolph to secure her family’s future. Instead, she falls for his younger brother, Nicholas, and the resulting war between her passion and her duty threatens to ruin everyone she holds dear.

    Splendor, by Brenda Joyce
    A woman of little means, Carolyn has managed to garner notoriety as a columnist in a London paper under a male pseudonym. But when her wry wit targets a foreign prince, he stops at nothing to discover her true identity—and to show her the beauty of all she claims to hate, by whisking her away to his home court of St. Petersburg.

    Forbidden, by Jo Beverly
    After a terrible marriage, Serena Riverton is finally done with men. But in a moment of passion and desperation, she seduces Lord Middlethorp, ruining his chances at an honorable marriage. The consequences of one night of passion ensnare them both in a love affair that soon enough neither of them want to escape.

    Thorn, by Intisar Khanani
    A princess cursed to spend her life in the shadows of her family and the court, Alyrra has been forced to marry a foreign prince. But along the journey, they are attacked…and when her identity is mistake for someone else’s, she takes the chance to live someone else’s life.

    Reign of Madness, by Lynn Cullen
    Isabel and Fernando are the heart of the Spanish monarchy…and Juana, their third child, will never sit on their throne. So when she marries, she hopes it may be everything to her that being Queen never would be. That is, until Juana unexpectedly winds up on the throne, and her husband turns on her and seeks power for himself. Learn the story behind infamous Spanish monarch Juana the Mad in this captivating novel.

    Empress of the Night, by Eva Stachniak
    Catherine the Great relives the events of her life including her early years as a daughter-in-law to an Empress, her plans to usurp a King’s throne, and the years of occupying the throne herself.

    Medicis Daughter, by Sophie Perinot
    Catherine de Medici is a fascinating character of history…but her daughter is the one who stars in this story, as she moves from a daughter eager to please her powerful mother by marrying a man she did not love, and suffering in the bloodshed that followed.

    The Princess Saves Herself in this One, by Amanda Lovelace
    This beautiful poetry collection melds fairytales and real life to put the reader in the position of princess in her own story; conquering demons and dragons both physical and internal to find the happily ever after we all deserve.

    What royal reads are distracting you as we count down to the next royal wedding?

    The post Prepare For The Royal Wedding With 50 Royal Reads appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Corrina Lawson 5:00 pm on 2018/01/24 Permalink
    Tags: a matter of choice, Birthright, , brazen virtue, carolina moon, concealed in death, divine evil, hidden riches, , new york to dallas, , nora roberts, one summer, , private scandals, remember when - part 1, , Survivor in Death, , , the macgregors series, , Three Fates, Tribute, ,   

    The Great RITA Read: Nora Roberts 

    When I first looked over the list of winners of the Golden Medallion/Rita Awards in the beginning, one name jumped out at me:

    Nora Roberts.

    The Queen of Romance first won the Golden Medallion for Contemporary Sensual Romance in 1982 with The Heart’s Victory, a story that you can find still in print, as is the case with most of her work. She last won the RITA Award in 2015 with Concealed in Death, part of the long-running In Death series that she writes under the pseudonym of J.D. Robb.

    Since then, Roberts has won an astonishing 21 RITA/Golden Medallion Awards, spanning a total of 32 years, and her winning works range from various subgenres of short and long contemporaries, to romantic suspense, to novels with strong romantic elements, a category created for a time by RWA to fit romances that also included considerable elements of another genre.

    Not only does Roberts’ longevity become clear when looking over the Awards list, but but so does her ability to write across genres, a talent showcased just this month with the publication of Year One, a dystopian story set in a world where a mystical virus has been unleashed, destroying 80 percent of the world’s population. That book is not a romance, but it does contain three elements that have made her romances, starting back in 1983, award-winning.

    The first is her ability to create fascinating and original characters. While I haven’t read all of Roberts’ novels, I’ve read several of the early award-winners, her entire In Death series, all the books in her MacGregors series, and numerous of her more recent romantic suspense books.

    Even in her early novels, the heroines have a wide variety of compelling jobs, including lion tamer (Untamed), Hollywood producer (This Magic Moment), and antiques dealer (A Matter of Choice).

    The heroes in those same novels, respectively, include a successful attorney, a mysterious magician, and a police detective who aspires to be a novelist. Hmm…I might have to conclude that her heroines get to have more unusual lives than her heroes but to do that,  would have to read her entire body of work and that would be a more daunting task than reading all the RITA winners.

    Secondly, not only does she create unforgettable characters, Roberts builds compelling worlds for them to inhabit. The lion tamer heroine in Untamed is part of a long-running circus, and not only does the reader get to know the circus manager but also the acrobat and the clowns, the heroine’s apprentice, and the lions themselves. There is one tense scene inside the lion ring where one of the cats has swiped and injured the heroine that is absolutely riveting. (Note: I know that this novel would be viewed differently if published today, as our view of using animals as entertainment has evolved. Regardless, this story immersed me in a dangerous and exciting new world, something that’s a common thread through all Roberts’ books.)

    Similarly, the magician hero from This Magic Moment is introduced as the heroine drives up to his literal castle on a cliff, a foreboding and fascinating abode where she’s then greeted by a Lurch-type butler (who is more than he seems), and escorted to the basement where the hero is practicing his arts. The reader is immediately thrust into the deeply atmospheric world of the magician, which they’ll never want to leave.

    Thirdly, Roberts’ books are perfectly paced. There is rarely wasted prose in a Nora Roberts book. Things tend to happen in the now and to stay firmly rooted in the present throughout the course of the story. Backstory is unspooled gradually, as we get to know the characters, and it doesn’t interrupt the progress of the story at hand.

    Each scene moves the story forward. That can be seen this year in Year One, where multiple characters and multiple settings are used. Sometimes the books focuses in on one specific event, such as the different escapes from New York City of three sets of the main characters, but the transitions are handled quickly and efficiently. There is just enough description to give the reader a mental picture and not enough to leave them skipping pages and bogged down in extraneous details.

    In short, Roberts’ impressive ability to create memorable characters, put them in an interesting setting, get them moving and keep them in conflict, are all a large part part of why she remains one of the most popular and award-winning writers of our age.

    The total list of her award-winning books:

    1983: Contemporary Sensual Romance: The Heart’s Victory

    1984: Traditional Romance: Untamed

    1984: Contemporary Romance 65-80,000 words: This Magic Moment

    1985: Short Contemporary Romance: Opposites Attract

    1985: Long Contemporary Series Romance: A Matter of Choice

    1987: Long Contemporary Series Romance: One Summer

    1989: Suspense Romance: Brazen Virtue

    1992: Romantic Suspense: Night Shift 

    1993: Romantic Suspense: Divine Evil 

    1994: Contemporary Single Title: Private Scandals 

    1995: Romantic Suspense: Hidden Riches 

    1996: Contemporary Single Title: Born in Ice (This book also won a new Best Book of the Year Award)

    2001: Romantic Suspense: Carolina Moon

    2003: Romantic Suspense: Three Fates 

    2004: Contemporary Single Title: Birthright

    Romantic Suspense: Remember When—Part 1

    2006: Romantic Suspense: Survivor in Death 

    2009: Novel with Strong Romantic Elements: Tribute

    2012: Best Romantic Suspense: New York to Dallas

    2015: Romantic Suspense: Concealed in Death 

    How many Nora Roberts novels have you read? Which was your favorite?

    The post The Great RITA Read: Nora Roberts appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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