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  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 4:00 pm on 2018/06/21 Permalink
    Tags: a duke to remember, by right of arms, , , it started with a scandal, , , , kelly bowen, , my lady notorious, robin carr, , , tessa dare, , the tender texan   

    The Great RITA Read Takes on Historicals: Oh, Those Dukes, Spies, and Rakes! 

    In the latest installment of my Great RITA Read series, in which I attempt to read as many winners of the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award as possible, it’s time to discuss a subgenre that happens to be my personal favorite: historical romances.

    The most recent winner of the Historical Romance Rita Award was Kelly Bowen’s delightful A Duke To Remember, which features a lost Duke who does not want to be found and a heroine who is, at various times, an actress, a spy, and a private investigator.

    You would think that A Duke To Remember would have little in common with Day Beyond Destiny, winner of the first Historical RWA award (then the Golden Medallion) in 1982. While there are differences, especially since Day Beyond Destiny is a generational saga, there are similarities which point to the reasons behind the staying power of historical romances.

    First, the heroines are trapped in a world that doesn’t value female sexuality, but they still crave, well, great sex. Bowen’s heroine is instantly attracted to the lost Duke, especially since he pulls her out of a river after she rescued a young boy. In Tessa Dare’s delightful Romancing the Duke, the 2015 Historical Romance: Short winner, the passion-starved heroine is only too glad to become the equivalent of a ruined woman.

    Even back in 1982, the main heroine of Day Beyond Destiny is trapped in an abusive marriage but leaves her husband for a passionate lover who values her.

    These women aren’t ashamed of their sexuality or their needs; instead, they crave the passion and intimacy of a satisfying sexual relationship. It is a pattern that plays out in many romances but, in historicals, particularly the early ones, the heroines must push harder against the social mores of the time.

    Second, many historical romances also explore class and cultural differences between the heroes and heroines. In A Duke To Remember, the gulf between the private investigator and her lost Duke is vast. He’s nobility, she’s a commoner and no virgin. In Meredith Duran’s Fool Me Twice, the Historical Romance: Long winner in 2015, the hero is a Duke mourning not only the death of his wife but her betrayal, while the heroine is the illegitimate daughter of a politician on the run from her father’s assassin. Already, there’s a status difference but the chasm widens when she is hired as his housekeeper. Watching each of them push against this societal gulf is one of the many joys of the book.

    And, of course, in Day Beyond Destiny, the heroine is an American housewife, while the hero is a Greek revolutionary. The cultural differences between them are vast.

    Even Westerns can have these class differences. Jodi Thomas’s The Tender Texan, the Short Historical winner in 1992, features a young cowboy who agrees to an arranged marriage with a widowed German immigrant. The language and cultural differences between this hero and heroine are solved by kindness and love, but there’s a learning curve.

    The last commonality is easy to guess: the heroes of historical romances tend to be nobility of some kind or another. Day Beyond Destiny features a Greek prince of a sort, and that’s part of a pattern too. Even when the heroes aren’t nobility, per se, they are powerful and important, and include: Dukes, various lords, businessmen, and the occasional shipping magnate/pirate.

    If there were as many Dukes in England as in Regency Romance novels, you could stack them up from London to Cornwall and still not have enough room. But this rank for the hero is an important element of the class/power dynamic found in many historical romances. These are stories in which the heroine, by the force of her personality and her competence in her chosen endeavors, wins the heart of the hero. And by winning his heart, I also mean winning his approval of her worldview. One of the few medieval romances to win a RITA, in 1992, in what was then just the Historical Romance category, was Robin Carr’s By Right of Arms. Carr’s story featured a marriage of convenience between a conquering knight and the widow of the lord of the castle. You’d guess he would have all the power in this situation but, no; because she is beloved by her late husband’s knights and local villagers, he must work with her, listen to her, and, eventually, he comes to see that the way she rules the keep is the best way to win the loyalty of those on his new land. (Note, oh, yes, we could do a full article on marriages of convenience….)

    Those three elements: the need for sexual satisfaction, class differences, and intrepid heroines, can be seen in nearly all the historical RITA winners from 1982 to 2017.

    The main manner in which the award-winning novels in these categories have evolved over the years has to do with the sexual history of the heroine. Earlier historical heroines often move from being ignorant of sex but aware of its passionate possibilities, to finding out what it’s all about, such as the on-the-run noble heroine of the late great Jo Beverly’s My Lady Notorious, the Historical Romance winner in 1992. Many later heroines have already experienced sex, like the fallen women with the illegitimate son in It Started With A Scandal by Julie Anne Long, the 2016 Historical Romance Short winner. In years past, this heroine might have been taken advantage of, or forced, or unjustly accused of being a fallen women.

    It seems now that the heroines can actually be “fallen” women.

    Is this a case of our own changing ideas about sex, being reflected back through time? Likely, but then historical romances, like science fiction stories, also tend to have something to say about our present world. The idea that you can be worldly and experienced and still worthy of having your story told is a positive one.

    Next up, it’s time to explore contemporary romance Rita winners and how those have changed through the years. Those too, have a great deal to say about the changes in sexual morals but also about the changing needs of women from the 1980s to the present. One hint: alas, sexual harassment of women in the working world remains as much of a constant as it ever was.

    The post The Great RITA Read Takes on Historicals: Oh, Those Dukes, Spies, and Rakes! appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 5:00 pm on 2018/02/22 Permalink
    Tags: a darker shade of magic, , , almost a scandal, black daggar brotherhood, , , , , , flowers from the storm, forged in steele, , , , , , , , , , , , london's perfect scoundrel, , , , , , , , romancing mr. bridgerton, , , , tessa dare, the danger of desire, , the lady hellion, , the secret pearl, , , , , to beguile a beast, victoria schwab, , yours until dawn   

    A Romance (or Two!) For Every Astrological Sign 

    Do you believe fate is written in the stars? Are you obsessed with learning how the stars will align for your life in any given season? Then this list of Astrology-inspired romances is for you!

    Aries
    Aries signs are strong, full of leadership. They can be heroic and caring, but also impulsive and competitive. They love being the best at things—including, and especially, at winning the hearts of those they admire.  

    Black Dagger Brotherhood, by J. R. Ward
    Wrath is the leader of a group of vampires known as the Black Dagger Brotherhood—and he is set on vengeance against the people who killed his parents. After centuries of violence in pursuit of this goal, he meets a woman who will make him wonder if fighting for love is better than fighting for revenge.

    Forged in Steele, by Maya Banks
    Nothing says Aries more than military background fighters who work beyond the confines of the US Government, right? In this sexy novel, Steele leads his team on dangerous missions, protecting his heart in a thick layer of ice. Until he meets Maren, a doctor he cannot stop himself from wanting to protect, despite the secret he knows she is keeping.

    Taurus
    Known for being organized, supportive people, Taurus signs are ruled by the “Earth” element. They are patient and romantic, but can have a stubborn side, especially when it comes to the security of those they love. (Also, they can have a streak for indulging in the finer things in life!)

    A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
    Diana is a scholar at the top of her game…and a reluctant witch at the center of a grand conspiracy. She knows she should stay away from Matthew, a vampire and supposed enemy of her kind, but when she discovers that all of the supernatural world is after her because she possesses a dangerous document that could shake their order, she turns to him for protection.

    A Darker Shade of Magic, by Victoria Schwab
    Kell is one of the last Atari, a magical being with the ability to travel between worlds. He is essential to keeping the balance of magic between the worlds…but when he cannot help himself from stealing an item that does not belong in his world and the consequences prove fatal, he must risk it all to right the wrong before it claims the lives of those he loves.

    Gemini
    Geminis do not respond well to authority. They are adventurous and fun, but always like to be on the winning side of any debate. Some might call them judgmental, but that’s what makes their wit so striking.

    The Wolf and the Dove, by Kathleen Woodiwiss
    Aislinn’s home has been ravaged by a conqueror in this medieval romance. He is strong and courageous, but responsible for so much pain…and yet, she finds herself drawn to him even as she vows to destroy him.

    Hate to Want You, by Alisha Rai
    For one night every year, Livvy and Nicholas share a night of passion…even though their families hate one another. That is, until Livvy reneged on the deal, and something changed. But suddenly she is back, and Nicholas finds himself craving answers just as much as he continues to crave her.

    Cancer
    Nurturers, homebodies, and romantics—that’s who Cancers are. Sure, they may be prone to gossip and competition, but their hearts are incredibly sensitive and loyal to those they trust. (Just don’t break that trust, or else.)

    Yours Until Dawn, by Teresa Medeiros
    Samantha is a nurse charged with healing a fallen soldier back to health, but her task is difficult. Gabriel lost his sight, the woman he loved, and his place in the world. But her determination and care slowly brings him into the light, and into the arms of a woman who loves him like no other.

    Flowers from the Storm, by Laura Kinsale
    A classic story of love through pain and hardship, Maddy Timms finds herself in the unique position of being the only one who can save the dangerous, fascinating Duke of Jervaulx from himself.

    Leo
    Leos have a love of honesty that can get them in trouble. Sometimes jealous, often generous, Leos command attention and energy wherever they go. Named after the lion, it won’t surprise you to learn that Leos are natural leaders.

    Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
    Noble, proud, and heroic, Jamie Fraser embodies all of the qualities above…as does his love, Claire, who finds herself thrown into a different time and forced to marry the Highlander to keep herself safe. Two strong-willed souls battle for dominance in their relationship, but each will sacrifice everything to save the other if need be.

    London’s Perfect Scoundrel, by Loretta Chase
    Evelyn knows that the Marquis of St. Aubyn is not a man who should be trusted, but she needs his help in a mission more important than her pride. Headstrong and refusing to back down even when he denies her, eventually their fiery temperaments give way to flames in their hearts.

    Virgo
    Helpful and hardworking, Virgos are friends to all. Known for being practical (to the point of being preachy), these Earth signs get a lot of satisfaction out of creating things on their own.

    The Duchess Deal, by Tessa Dare
    A marriage of convenience is a practical thing to do. So the Duke of Ashbury decides that he will marry Emma Gladstone and employ a set of rules to ensure that they not cross any boundaries he isn’t prepared for. But Emma wants more than just a convenient marriage, she wants passion, and love…and their battle of wills will not cease until she gets what she wants.

    Devil in Winter, by Lisa Kleypas
    Not wanting to entrap her inheritance in the hands of unscrupulous relatives, Evangeline decides she needs to marry someone who will keep it safe. So she decides to marry Lord St. Vincent, a rake beyond compare, and is determined to make him into the husband she knows she deserves.

    Libra
    The sign of the scales is known to embody balance and partnership, but Libras also have a dramatic side! They are ruled by the planet Venus—the planet of love—so they are often charming and romantic…and are often riled by things they deem unfair.

    If You Deceive, by Kresley Cole
    Ethan MacCarrick’s life was changed rorever when he was beaten and scarred as payment for a crime he was innocent of committing. Paid for by a powerful nobleman, Ethan has decided there will be no justice until he has bankrupted the man. But it still isn’t enough, so he decides fair is fair: he will seduce the man’s daughter, bed her, and then cast her aside, a ruined woman. But soon, he finds himself falling for his target.

    The Serpent Prince, by Elizabeth Hoyt
    Simon is a Viscount hell-bent on revenge after being beaten almost to death. But his mission is put on hold while Lucy helps him heal—and when the attackers start to target her as well, he must make a choice between the woman he has grown to love and the fight that could cost them their lives.

    Scorpio
    Scorpios do not take no for an answer. Headstrong, passionate, and motivated by how much they can control both in and outside the bedroom, they are as intense as any romance love interest can get. Their symbol is the scorpion, so their bark can have some bite…but when they are on your side, there’s nothing better.

    The Siren, by Tiffany Reisz
    If a romance as described above is your cup of tea, you must meet Soren and Nora, the protagonists at the heart of the Original Sinners series. Soren is a Dominant, but more than that, he feels an inner need to hurt people (and derives sexual pleasure from it) that he controls by way of BDSM. Nora is his submissive—but she’s also the most prominent Dominatrix at the underground club they both visit. How did this arrangement unfold? You have to read the whole series to learn the full story.

    The Secret, by Julie Garwood
    Iain Maitland, a Highland clan Laird, totally fits this mold. When Judith Hampton meets him as her escort into the Highlands to help a friend give birth, she finds him to be everything her polite society has taught her to fear. Cold, calculating, and strong beyond belief; but eventually Judith’s light begins to warm Iain’s heart.

    Sagittarius
    A Sagittarius will never turn down a dare! These rule-breakers are fun-seeking adventurers you will never have a dull day with.

    The Danger of Desire, by Sabrina Jeffries
    Delia Trevor is the heroine inspired by this zodiac sign; seeking revenge for her brother’s death, she disguises herself as a man to infiltrate high society. Gambling with not only her reputation but her life, she finds herself in danger when the infamous Warren, Marquess of Knightford, recognizes her.

    Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, by Sarah MacLean
    Gabriel St. John defies all the rules—he’s a known rake, his skills at seduction both admired and reviled in high society. Lady Calpurnia is the opposite: a total rule-follower, but not for long. Since no one wants to marry her anyway, she decides to pursue him, and together, they find a love that dares to break the mold.

    Capricorn
    Ever seen someone with a color-coded planner? They are probably a Capricorn. Known for being ambitious and organized, these folks are rarely quitters. But dedication can be a double-edged sword, as sometimes Capricorns can be cold.  

    To Beguile a Beast, by Elizabeth Hoyt
    Helen has made mistakes in the past, but she is determined not to give up and to find a new life for herself. So when she takes a job as the mysterious and reclusive Sir Alistair’s housekeeper and finds him to be as cold and unfeeling as his reputation let on, her work is cut out for her. She isn’t afraid of his scars, or his past, or of what will happen if they fall in love.

    Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
    Elizabeth Bennett and her sisters are all still unmarried, which presents a problem for her lower-class family, which still has five children to support. But she is headstrong and refuses to marry for less than true love…and when a man she despises interferes with her sister’s happiness, she knows he is the last man she could ever love.

    Aquarius
    These Air-ruled people are friendly and eccentric, known for being inviting and kind. They always seek to root out injustice where they find it, and are at their best when they have a mission to achieve. But be careful: sometimes having a mission can lead someone on a path towards their own destruction.  

    The Lady Hellion, by Joanna Shupe
    Sophie has never shied away from a good fight: her latest battle is to protect the rights of prostitutes, but no one takes her seriously as a woman. So she decides to dress as a man to command the attention her cause desires…and to get an accomplice in her quest, like Damien Beecham, the only man she trusts to help her despite him having broken her heart months ago.

    Almost a Scandal, by Elizabeth Essex
    Sally Kent’s family has always served in the Navy…but when her brother decides not to, she is determined to take his place, even if she has to disguise herself in order to serve. The problem? She’s distracted by the disarmingly handsome Lieutenant David Colyear, who knows without a doubt that there’s a woman on board his ship whose secret he must keep.

    Pisces
    Fantasy lovers known for having huge imaginations, this Fish sign is always on the lookout for perfect love. But sometimes that can lead them into dangerous situations, where they trust people they shouldn’t.

    The Secret Pearl, by Mary Balogh
    Fleur has resorted to desperate lengths to stay alive and afloat in London society. So when she gets a chance to be a governess and escape a life on the streets, she jumps at the chance…only to find her new employer is the mysterious man who took her to bed one night she could never forget.

    Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, by Julia Quinn
    Colin Bridgerton is charming, handsome, totally gossip-worthy…and his sister’s best friend, Penelope, has been secretly in love with him for years. When she discovers a secret that changes how she sees him—and Colin’s feelings for her begin to change—will the scandal of his past bring down their romance?

    What’s your sign? And what’s your favorite romance?

    The post A Romance (or Two!) For Every Astrological Sign appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 4:00 pm on 2018/02/08 Permalink
    Tags: all of you, , christina lee, , kate willoughby, , out of the game, , , so lonely, tessa dare, the spymaster's lady, topaz, uncertain magic   

    6 Forever Alones Who Find Love  

    Whether it’s by choice or circumstance, Forever Alones believe they’re destined for a life of solitude. Of course, this makes for an especially sweet romance when they’re proven wrong. Featuring spies and spinsters, telepaths and tattoo artists, and one hell of a brooding duke, these tales prove it’s never too late for love to change your heart.

    Romancing the Duke, by Tessa Dare
    Izzy Goodnight, “at her best when invisible” is “overdue for a ravishing.” As a child, she was a beloved character in her father’s serial, a fantasy adventure that included a sweeping romance. But as a spinster of 26, wild-haired Izzy learned long ago that fairy tale endings and happily-ever-afters are for other people, not her. But then she unexpectedly inherits a castle, with a grumpy, scarred-but-sexy Duke to go with it. As they vie for the rights to the property, sparks fly between them that prove impossible to ignore. A fun historical with a Beauty and the Beast vibe.

    Topaz, by Beverly Jenkins
    Today there’s nothing unusual about an unmarried, 28-year-old newspaperwoman. But in 1884, it’s extremely rare. Especially if the newspaperwoman is black. Accomplished, ambitious, “too tall” journalist Katherine Love doesn’t need or want a man in her life, until the story she’s broken wide open lands her in danger. Enter Dixon Wildhorse, a Black Seminole marshal from Oklahoma’s Indian country. The strapping lawman has been sent by Kate’s father to rescue (and wed) Kate. Although Kate feels an undeniable attraction to Dix, she’s equally determined to continue her career. Whose will power will prove strongest?

    Out of the Game, by Kate Willoughby
    In her third stand-alone book from the In the Zone series about contemporary hockey players, Willoughby introduces readers to the gorgeous team playboy, Alex, who never intends to settle down the way his friends and teammates have. But a torrid kiss from Claire several months earlier has rarely left his mind, and when he gets the opportunity to spend a weekend with her, he jumps at the chance—and discovers he might be ready for a relationship after all.

    The Spymaster’s Lady, by Joanna Bourne
    In this Regency-era swashbuckler, Annique Villiers has been a spy for as long as she can remember. A French double-agent entrusted with the much-coveted Albion plans, her code name is “Fox Cub,” and “she’s made mistakes which haunt her at night and which [she] cannot erase.” As Annique puts it, “To love, in our profession…is madness.” But after teaming up with a dashing enemy agent, Robert Grey, to enact a bonkers-awesome prison break, Annique and Grey find themselves willing to twist a few laws if it means getting closer to each other.

    All of You, by Christina Lee
    This New Adult romance features Bennett, a hot, tattooed, male virgin who captivates the imagination of his frisky downstairs neighbor, Avery. Though Bennett and Avery come from similarly dysfunctional pasts, their methods of coping couldn’t be more different. Convinced that being single is the only way to stay sane, Avery eschews relationships, preferring short-lived hookups. Bennett, however, is wary of no-strings sex, determined to hold out for something real. Will he find it with Avery?

    Uncertain Magic, by Laura Kinsale
    Fans of Sookie Stackhouse will love this supernatural Gaelic romance about Roderica (“Roddy”) Delamore, an Irish lass whose telepathy allows her to read the minds of everyone around her. Roddy is resigned to a lonely existence, dressing up as a boy and tending to her father’s horses, whose physical ailments she deciphers with her gift. She’s certain “no man could abide to have his mind an open book for his wife to read,” but then she discovers there is one man upon whom her powers don’t work; too bad he’s the terrifying Devil Earl of Ireland, Faelan Savigar, and he may be hiding an even bigger secret than Roddy.

    What Forever-Alone-no-more romances do you love?

    The post 6 Forever Alones Who Find Love  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, , , 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, , , tessa dare, 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.

     
  • Amanda Diehl 3:00 pm on 2017/10/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , beauty like the night, , , , , elyse springer, , heels over head, , , kirsten ashley, , , , , , tessa dare, , the deep end, , the pages of the mind, , ,   

    Romance Recommendations for Your Zodiac Sign 

    Playing matchmaker with readers and romance novels is so much fun! I’m also a huge zodiac junkie. I read my horoscope routinely and go absolutely nuts for compatibility charts. Inspired by traits of the twelve signs, here are some reading recommendations, though don’t take them too seriously. I won’t tell if you want to dip into the recs for other signs!

    Aquarius: Heels Over Head, by Elyse Springer
    First off, Aquarius is a water sign and a romance featuring professional divers and swimmers is pretty on the nose. Brandon Evans is aloof and carefree. He also knows how good of a diver he is. Meanwhile, Jeremy Reeve is struggling with his family’s feelings on his sexuality. He thinks his only hope of being accepted is by winning an Olympic medal. While Brandon and Jeremy seem like opposites on the surface, they’re rather complementary as teammates and it’s beautiful to see the divers find a sense a community within their sport.

    Pisces: The Duchess Deal, by Tessa Dare
    Pisces are known to be compassionate and selfless, but that can often bite them in the butt later on. The Duchess Deal has a battle-scarred hero who has a nightly hobby of fighting London’s riffraff, but what he wants deep down is an heir. Emma Gladstone is the daughter of a vicar and a seamstress, and she sees beneath the Duke of Ashbury’s physical insecurities. She agrees to help him with his heir problem, but she has a few conditions. Ash forbids kissing. Emma wants to share a meal every night. Though they both agree to help one another, they’ll definitely get more than they bargained for with this arrangement.

    Aries: Hate to Want You, by Alisha Rai
    Speaking as an Aries myself, I know we’re a bit turbulent and moody, but we’re also confident and incredibly passionate. Hate to Want You is pretty emotional and is bursting with dramatic family secrets and scandals. In a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler feel as though they can’t be together because of their families and accompanying baggage. But one night a year, they agree to meet in the bedroom. However, their forbidden romance can no longer remain a secret as their arrangement becomes complicated: Livvy doesn’t show for their scheduled yearly meeting and instead returns to their hometown.

    Taurus: The Pages of the Mind, by Jeffe Kennedy
    Tauruses are known to be practical and responsible, but a bit uncompromising, which is why Dafne, the scholarly librarian heroine of The Pages of the Mind, is a great fit. Dedicated to her job, she travels on behalf of her queen to help successfully incorporate the northern kingdoms into her queen’s realm. There, she meets a barbarian king with a significant language barrier between them. Dafne’s resolve never falters even as King Nakoa has her submit to marriage in order to broker a new alliance. Dafne handles things in stride, surprisingly, and the way she adapts to a new kingdom is rather sweet.

    Gemini: The Deep End, by Kristen Ashley
    Gemini are often defined as having two different personalities and the submissive Alpha hero of The Deep End is sure to appeal to both. Outside the bedroom, Olivier is strong, masculine, and all Alpha. Then he joins the Honey Club and meets Amelie, a cold, calculating Domme who likes her men submissive. Having an “Alpha-sub” is an interesting twist in characterization, especially since the heroine is often in a position of power in the bedroom. This romance is also heavy on erotic content, but that doesn’t mean it lacks in a beautiful, developing romance between Olly and Amelie.

    Cancer: Beauty Like the Night, by Joanna Bourne
    While Cancers can be incredibly empathetic, they can also be a bit manipulative. Sorry, Cancers! But a historical romance with espionage and spy shenanigans is a perfect romance read for you. Sèverine de Cabrillac and Raoul Deverney are brought together by a similar goal: justice. When Sèverine seeks out Raoul’s help in rescuing her missing daughter, Raoul knows that this mission could very well lead him to the killer of his estranged wife. Brought together by grief and worry, the pair quickly become a formidable and rather cutthroat team. It’s a romance with some bite!

    Leo: Dating You/Hating You, by Christina Lauren
    Leos are charismatic, funny, and often the life of the party. They’re also stubborn and demand a lot of attention. And trust me, Dating You/Hating You is going to demand nearly all of your free time. It’s also really hilarious. Evelyn Abbey thought she met a really great guy at a friend’s Halloween Party, but when she realizes that same guy, Carter Aaron, is now her competition at work after a company merger, their romance quickly skids to a halt. There’s an office prank war, an oblivious boss who things dog treats are granola bars, and some serious girl power in this battle-of-the-sexes workplace romance.

    Virgo: The Winter King, by C.L. Wilson
    When it comes to Virgos, they’re incredibly detailed, but are also frequently drawn to nature. A fantasy romance seems like a sure bet! Wilson’s fantasy romances have some amazing world-building from the differing kingdoms to how magic operates from person to person. The heroine can also summon storms. How cool is that! Wynter Atrialan hopes to get revenge on the king of Summerlea by taking one of his daughters, Khamsin Coruscate, as his bride. What Wynter doesn’t count on is Khamsin enjoying her newfound sense of freedom. The settings are descriptive and the courtship is lovely in this utterly bewitching fantasy romance.

    Libra: A New Leash on Love, by Debbie Burns
    Gentle and with a love of keeping company, Libras always strike me as being on the sweeter side of the astrological spectrum. A New Leash on Love is an adorable contemporary romance, as if it weren’t obvious by the chocolate lab puppy on the cover. Megan Anderson runs the local no-kill shelter, dedicating her life to helping animals in need. Craig Williams hates that he has to take his daughter’s new dog to the shelter, but since his divorce seems to suffer one misstep after another. When he drops the dog off, he isn’t counting on a tense confrontation with the shelter’s owner. Their first meeting doesn’t go particularly well, to say the least, but things definitely improve on their second meeting. And the third. Pick this one up, if you like romances with plenty of cute, furry secondary characters.

    Scorpio: The Chase, by Vanessa Fewings
    Scorpios are the ones you call when you need some resourceful and courageous. They can meet a challenge head-on, but they’re steadfast in their beliefs and can hold things close to the vest. The Chase is a contemporary romance with elements of suspense as the heroine, Zara Leighton, is enlisted to track down an international art thief. It’s a case she could only dream of. There’s just one problem and that’s her investigation firm’s billionaire client: Tobias Wilder. Enigmatic and mysterious, Tobias seems like the perfect suspect—or Zara’s greatest distraction.

    Sagittarius: Roman Crazy, by Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci
    If there’s one weakness to being a Sagittarius, it’s the call of wanderlust and the need for travel! With her divorce nearing finalization, Avery Bardot restarts her life for the summer in beautiful Rome, Italy. She spends her days exploring the city and her nights eating amazing food. It’s in Rome, surprisingly, that she meets the one man she never forgot: Marcello Bianchi, and the feeling seems to be mutual. Though with the summer quickly approaching its end, Avery isn’t sure if she can give up her adventurous life in Italy and return to the States.

    Capricorn: Silver Silence, by Nalini Singh
    Capricorns are masters of self-control, but when it comes to their family, all bets are off. Silver Mercant helps run an international emergency response network. It’s practically her job to remain calm under pressure. Then she meets Valentin Nikolaev, a bear shifter and leader of his powerful clan. There’s something about Silver that sparks an undeniable interested in Val and when an unknown force begins to threaten Silver’s life, Val will protect her at any cost. And we all know what happens when you poke a bear.

    What’s your sign? (And what’s your favorite romance?)

    The post Romance Recommendations for Your Zodiac Sign appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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