Posts tagged ‘Harlequin’

One Serious Romance

When most people think “romance,” they tend to envision a cheesy cover, tons of sex, and a mildly silly plotline.  They also tend to think that all romance novels are created equal — which they’re not — and that they all look like category/series romances.  Now, I know I’ve talked about series romances in the past (you can click here for a refresher course), and yes, I know that sometimes –okay oftentimes–their plots are a little cliche, but I simply adore category romances.  So in honor of those quick, steamy, sweet, and silly reads, I’ve compiled the Greatest Series Romance Ever: a combination of plots, titles, and characters from some real life Harlequins. Enjoy…

The Billionaire Cowboy’s Secret Baby Bombshell and Inconveniently Proper Mistress!

By A Whole Bunch of People

Anna Berzani moved halfway across the country to get away from her overprotective family. When old friend and notorious playboy Henry James Randolf III shows up in San Francisco one cold December night, wanting to escape, Anna feels that same nothing-but-trouble attraction she’d felt at sixteen.

Henry is relentless in pursuing his desires–and intent on bedding wide-eyed Anna–the seductive girl from his past. But he has one condition: it’s to be a temporary romance only. Marriage is not an option. However, their passionate nights together lead to…a nine-month countdown! Unintentionally, Henry’s mistress is pregnant with his forbidden baby….

A year later, when she shows up at his Texas ranch with her bombshell, two adorable twin boys, Henry can’t believe his eyes. The boys look just like him. Was their night of passion a premeditated snare or a Christmas surprise? But when shots ring out, his instincts take over. He’ll stop at nothing to keep Anna and the boys safe. And he just may recognize where his true wealth lies, if it isn’t too late for them all.

So there you have it! A new bestseller right there waiting to be sold.  To read the actual books that inspired this EPIC story, check out these classic Harlequins. You’ll love them. Even if you never admit it out loud.

Baby Bombshell (Harlequin American Romance) by Lisa Ruff

Anna Berzani moved halfway across the country to get away from her overprotective family. When old friend and notorious playboy Evan McKenzie shows up in San Francisco, Anna feels that same nothing-but-trouble attraction she’d felt at sixteen. A night on the town leads to a few kisses, which leads to…a nine-month countdown!

Practical Anna suggests marriage, but the gorgeous bachelor turns her down flat. He’s anything but good daddy material.

Evan always felt like an adopted member of the boisterous Berzani clan. Getting involved with Anna–irresistible as she is–won’t go over so well with his best friend, Anna’s brother. And when the rest of the family find out he refuses to marry her, he won’t just be disowned–he’ll be dismembered!

How can he marry her, though…when he knows marriage is nothing but heartache?

Ruthless Billionaire, Forbidden Baby (Harlequin Presents) by Emma Darcy

When Tamalyn Haynes agrees to be a bridesmaid, she doesn’t realize she will be dancing with the best man–notorious tycoon Fletcher Stanton!

Fletcher is relentless in pursuing his desires–and intent on bedding wide-eyed Tammy. But he has one condition: it’s to be a temporary romance only. Marriage is not an option. However, their passionate nights together lead to Tammy dropping a bombshell. Unintentionally, Fletcher Stanton’s mistress is pregnant with his forbidden baby….

The Cowboy’s Secret Twins (Silhouette Romantic Suspense) by Carla Cassidy

One cold December night, Henry James Randolf III wanted to escape. His money, his heritage, his lonely life. But when the blizzard drove the sexy Melissa Monroe into his arms he made sure to avoid that trap, too.

A year later, when she shows up at his Texas ranch with adorable twin boys, he can’t believe his eyes. The boys look just like him. Was their night of passion a premeditated snare or a Christmas surprise? But when shots ring out, his instincts take over. He’ll stop at nothing to keep Melissa and the boys safe. And he just may recognize where his true wealth lies, if it isn’t too late for them all.


August 18, 2011 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

The Power of Love…As Read by Some Celebrity Favorites

Oh Harlequin.  Gotta love those romance.  Sexy men, scandalous stories, and our favorite heroines make this publisher my number one go-to when I’m looking for a romantic read–whether it be an ebook, category romance, or mass market release.  Harlequin is in a word simply this: AWESOME.  But what could make this Romance Empire even better?  How about your favorite Harlequin releases as read by some celebs? Yeah. That could be fun…

Check out this Nightline feature on the romantic publisher and pay close attention!  Personally, I liked Seth Rogen’s reading.  I felt the passion…

Romantic Question: Who would you like to hear read aloud from a steamy romance? And do you agree that romance is a field only for women?

June 5, 2011 at 11:28 pm Leave a comment

Mood Music: Country Cowboys and Banjos

I love country music. Not really a popular confession, but I mean come on, I’m also the girl who has devoted an entire blog to romance novels, so I think I’ve moved beyond the whole “shameful secret passions” thing here.  But honestly, I’ve never really had a choice in the matter.  For years I tried to fight the urge to listen to those twanging men and women.  I turned to pop, show tunes, anything to save myself from the inevitable, but country music is in my blood–or at least in my water supply–and finally my Southern roots caught up with me.  I went to college up North and came back home more Southern.

See, growing up in Music City, USA–aka Nashville–country music was everywhere.  From the daughter of a country superstar in the grade below you at school, to the family friends who were songwriters, there’s no escaping this force of music.  In Nashville, you can walk into a Starbucks and see a random recording artist just relaxing, reading, and drinking their Venti-non-fat-mocha-cappuccino-thing.  Or you can walk into a sushi joint to see another.  Or the movie theater.  Or your own country club.  Or that time I ended up in Vince Gill and Amy Grant’s house petting their dog when we “kidnapped” them for a YoungLife event.  So yeah.  I really shouldn’t have even tried to fight the draw of country music.

But here’s the thing.  I just spent over 22 hours in the car with my mother road-tripping back from New England to Nashville after graduation, and I have to tell you that after over a day of listening to nonstop country–thank god for XM radio–I now know why I love country music: the stories.

Country songs are not just a random smattering of word that you can’t understand set to a hip dance beat.  Most country songs are narrative.  They talk about love, loss, families, cancer, child abuse, dying, drinking, divorce, cheating and really everything else in the world.  You can listen to a Carrie Underwood song and actually see the story.  To me listening to country is like listening to a really short audiobook set to epic music. And their music videos? Like mini-movies.

In a recent interview with RT BOOKREVIEWS (that I helped work on when I was working at RT this January) romance novelist Kat Martin talked about how country music inspired one of her stories, Against the Wind.  Her hero Jackson is a sexy modern cowboy, who would easily fit into one of my favorite songs along with a steel guitar or even a banjo.  I love me some banjo.  But the thing is–cowboys are super popular in the romance genre, and every time I read a Western romance, I immediately have to listen to some country music.  I know country music is not the most popular genre–but to me, I find the same feeling I get from romance in the lyrics of “Before He Cheats” or “Need You Now” or even “Postcard from Paris.”  You combine all three of these songs and BAM the foundations for an epic romance.

I’m about to start Kathleen Eagle‘s Once a Father, a Harlequin Special Edition about a an “Indian cowboy,” and I know that as I read it, I’ll be thinking of what it would be like set to a little music.  Who knows maybe it’ll be a Brad Paisley song or even a Blake Shelton.  We’ll have to see…

Romantic Question: Do you ever associate music and books like me? Or do you have a favorite genre that puts you in the mood for a little reading?

May 28, 2011 at 12:55 am Leave a comment

It’s Your Last Chance…But Not to Dance

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon and I am sitting around in my p.j’s and bathrobe staring at my computer screen.  I know I should feel pathetic, but really, I don’t.  I’ve just finished all my work for my senior year of college.  I am done.  I am graduating.  In a week.  To leave the ivy covered walls of Higher Institution behind for a cramped single in the middle of NYC for Columbia Publishing Program assuming they got my deposit check which I am now worried about…

Now that I am done with the million papers that I had to write in order to graduate–Voodoo, slasher films, stories about being born again and my father–I have time to think about the epicness that is about to happen: Senior Week.  A week of drinking.  I mean a week of partying before graduation. I mean a week of solemn contemplation about what it means to be a graduate and leaving behind youth for responsibility. Sure.  But mainly, I am thinking about a tradition at my college: Last Chance Dance.

My future...

Oh the Last Chance Dance.  Basically, senior year you submit a list. A list of names. Of people. Of people in your year, who you didn’t hook-up with a underclassman but would really like to.  And then the school takes your list and cross-references it with other people’s list to pair people up for a last hook-up. It’s kinda of like a bucket list of guys or girls that you want cross off the ol’ to do list.  So while technically it’s a “last change dance,” it’s more of a “last chance to play tonsil hockey with that cutie from your dorm sophomore year.”

Is anyone else hearing vibes of fairy tales here? I mean there’s a dance….pretty much a ball.  A matchmaking school…pretty much your fairy godmother.  And there’s a time limit…you graduate the next day–aka turn into a pumpkin…pretty much the tale of Cinderella.  Oh yeah.  This is going to be good.

Problem? My list is non-existent.  I know I’ve had four years to think about it, but I procrastinated and then exams came and now my Last Chance list is due, and I don’t know what to do!  I’m like an unprepared Cinderella.  Thankfully, I have a team of mice ready to make this night a night to remember.  And by “mice” I mean my dearest friends! We’ve decided to all swap lists and fill each other’s out…here’s to hoping my prince doesn’t turn into a frog.

Romance Connection! Ironically enough, my upcoming reviews for RT BOOKREVIEWS is a sexy Cinderella story.  Perfect timing to get me prepared for my Last Chance Dance. But for those of you who’re feeling in a romantic fairy tale mood like me but aren’t getting an advanced copies in the mail, here are some other romance suggestions that will inspire your own Cinderella story!

What about you romance read? Have a favorite Cinderella story not mentioned here? Send me some suggestions!

May 12, 2011 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Deal Breakers: Putting Up or Giving Up

My friend Sarah (the same Sarah who compared men to nuclear power) has decided that she wants to write romances. Problem?  She’s never really read one.  Apparently, I just make them sound so EPIC that she can’t help herself.  Therefore, for her birthday a month or so ago, I decided to give her something useful: two shining (and randomly chosen) category romances from Walmart.  Now, not having read the books myself, I decided to just pick two that sounded like Sarah-friendly plots: meaning no secret babies or pregnancy scares.  What college aged girl really wants that on her mind before she goes to bed? Shudder. Think of the nightmares!  My picks? Kathy LyonsIn Good Hands (Harlequin Blaze) and Margaret Way‘s Olivia and the Billionaire Cattle King (Harlequin Presents).  How could I say no to those titles?


Apparently those hands are Best Ever

Well, she read them over Spring Break and loved them. Of course. Which made me think, “Geez, now I want to read one!”  Thankfully, Sarah is not an only child and knows the fine art of sharing, so this morning, instead of studying, reading the Kubler-Ross book about dying people for class, or being generally productive, I decided that the best course of events was simple: read In Good Hands.


Now, I love a nice elevator sex scene as much as the next gal, and Lyons certainly delivers the goods in the book, but I kept thinking as I was reading it: why does hunky, hunky, hunk Roger stick around with the heroine Amber?  Sure, she’s flexible and sexy and I admire her kind-heart and desire to heal people. And, okay, she’s a homeopathic healer and he needs medical help. And, I get that the sex is apparently Best He’s Ever Had, but in order to “heal” his dangerously high blood pressure, she puts him on a “living food diet” meaning this:  “Food that has not been cooked, processed or damaged in anyway…as in fruits, vegetables and nuts.”

Garfield must have dated Amber too!

Okay, see this is where I was like “wait what?”  There are less drastic ways to go about balancing the body than only eating raw foods.  Right? Really, I mean maybe she could have weaned him off of his red meat? But no, she meets him, they have sex in the elevator, go back to her home, and BAM, Amber decrees that he can only eat “living food.”  Her way of the highway.  And Roger agrees to it! My favorite quote of the book,

“Four days later, he was still grinning…Sure, he would kill for something meaty to sink his teeth into… But all in all, the daily sexual adventures were more than making up for the other inconveniences.” (115)

So this got me thinking: how much would I put up with–how may “inconveniences”–for Best Sex Ever?  Let’s disregard the whole, “high blood pressure” aspect of the book.  Would you give up bread, pasta, cooked food, chocolate, cupcakes, beer, vodka, Cheetos, and basically most things yummy for awesome sex?

I was telling my friend Steph about book, and I was like, “I don’t know if I would go that far for someone I had just met, no matter how awesome.”  Apparently, I am in the minority! Steph was like, “Trust me, I’ve put up with a lot for good sex! It’s worth it!”  Then my friend Kim chimes in with, “For the best sex ever? Yeah I would go on a raw diet. Lizzie, it’s the BEST. SEX. EVER.”  Wow. I mean I get putting up with small things: like his annoying habit of cracking his knuckles, his friends who talk and chew at the same time, clipping his toenails on the couch, or even something big like having to call his mother every night at 9:00 regardless of what you are doing! Those, I get.  Sure, they are annoying and some a little creepy/gross, but giving up practically all food? Nope.

The things that come up from romance novels.  Whoever says that they don’t make you think has apparently never read one!  They are filled with Important Life Questions. But what do you think dearest friends? Am I totally delusional or does Roger have the right idea in this romance? Food or sex? Choose wisely!

March 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm 2 comments

Dating on Accident: How I tend to date people without knowing.

Laughing over coffee, hashbrowns, and pancakes the size of my head, my brother jokenly said: “Well, when Lizzie gets married it will probably be an accident. ‘Like wait? This is our wedding and not just a wedding?!?'” Then my friend Amanda pipes up with a “It’s true! Didn’t you accidentally go on a date with BLANK last weekend? One day you will realize you two’ve been dating for years!” The entire table starts laughing, as they continue to tease me about something that has plagued my life since puberty: my tendency to not realize date are well…dates.

My Future Life

It’s a problem.  Dating is so much harder in real life than in the movies.  I mean it is not my fault that when a guy friend invites me to dinner, I think, “oh fun, dinner with my friend” and then decide to make it a group thing.  How was I supposed to know that it was a date? Hmmm? Then when I turn up to the apparent date with my bestie in tow–let’s just say, it is pretty freaking awkward.  So after one too many times of accidental dates–you really don’t want to know how many “dates” I have missed–my dating habits have become the running joke among my family and friends.

Yes, my name is Lizzie and I am an accidental dater.  I have accepted my fate.  I am doomed to wander through the dating scene without knowing that a date is more than just some friendly hanging out until it happens.  Sometimes, I long for the good old days when a gentleman suitor would have to ask my father’s permission to court me.  Then I wake up and realize I like having the right to vote, being able to go to college, and the ability to walk around unchaperoned.  If I had to pick? I would so chose my blind, modern dating rituals.

The purpose of all of these ramblings?  In honor of my weekly book suggestion subgenre and my crazy-assed, accidental love life, I am about to start a new book. Barbara Dunlop’s The CEO’s Accidental Bride from Silhouette Desire.  RT BOOKREVIEWS gave it an awesome 4.5 stars, so I am sure it will be great.  Maybe I can pick up some pointers or hints on what to look for before I too find myself in heroine Kaitlin Saville’s position, as The CEO’s Accidental Bride.

March 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm 2 comments

Suggest Me Something: The Series Suggestions!

Suggestions are harder than you think!

The second thing people ask me when I say I like romance novels–after the “wait are you serious?” question–is if I would suggest something for them.  “What book should I read?!?”  My response: what do you like?

Dear friends, not all romance novels are created equal.  I mean, yes, they all deal with love, passion, and relationships, but calling all romance novels the same is like…well…calling all of your relationships the same.  Let me break it down for you:

Some are a little creepy and scary (paranormal).  Some are dangerous and thrilling (romantic suspense).  Some are pretty normal, everyday (contemporary).  While some are so in the past (historical),  some are even really short (category/series).  Now that I think about it, I hope none of your relationships are like this cause that would be a little intense. But my point: there are many different subcategories in romance novels.  Get it? So when you ask me to suggest a book for you, it’s like taking a shot in the dark! I cannot read you mind…thank god.

Therefore, my dearest roommate Nic has suggested that I do something RADICAL. Radical, I tell you! A weekly book suggestion in each of the various, and let me tell you they are various, romance subgenres.  Brilliant, Nic!

And on that note, let us begin with the shortest, most published, and generally the most stereotyped form: the category romance, also known as series romances.  According to Windy City (a chapter of the Romance Writers of America):


Read about Princess Anny's Wild Night

“category romance (may also be referred to as “series romance”) – shorter romances that are released in order and by month, with a series number on each title; these books are most commonly published by Harlequin/Silhouette.”

These books, usually 250 words or less, are put out by major publishers like Harlequin–who apparently has 16 different lines releases around over 100 books each month.  And that is a lot of books.  Some lines are pretty sexy (as in they are more explicit) like Harlequin Blaze, Silhouette Desire, and Harlequin Presents. Others are more moderate like Kimani Romance, Harlequin Nocturne, and Harlequin Intrigue.  Then there are those that are practically mild like Harlequin Superromance, Harlequin Romance, and Steeple Hill Love Inspired.  Gah, as I said there are A LOT of types of category romances.  But what I love most about categories are the fun titles (see: The Secret Child & The Cowboy CEO, Fired Waitress, Hired Mistress and The Virgin’s Proposition) and even better plots.  With secret babies, mistaken identities, and amnesia being some popular plot devices, these books are the soap operas of the romance novel industry.  I love them!
My suggestion: go to Walmart and find one the one that fits you. Or if you have an Amazon Kindle, download this Harlequin Blaze for FREE! Leslie Kelly’s  Slow Hands is a a fun, sexy, fast read that is pretty indicative of the category romance.
Slow Hands

Free Kindle Harlequin Blaze

It has mistaken identities, plenty of passion, and some fun, romantic scenes.  If you like Slow Hands, then you will like categories.  Also, the blog 59th and Peach reviews quite a few categories, so be sure to check it out!

So dearest, I hope this helps  you determine whether the category subgenre is the one for you. They are fun, quick reads.  Plus, if you find you like category romances, you know there will always be a good book out there with your name all over it–not literally or course unless you write series romances.  I mean with so many lines to pick from, you are set for life!  Plus, I who doesn’t love a nice book about a secret baby born out of a marriage of convenience in which the virgin’s bride identity is mistaken for that of someone else? Just saying.  Seems like a good time to me!

March 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm 4 comments

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