Sunday, November 29, 2009

RBTB GTFR Day #4: Living The Luxe Life

CONTEST TODAY - SUNDAY!!! Tell us why you're thankful for romance in the comments in any post today thru Sunday -- or in Becke Davis' "The Perfect Murder" feature -- 4 chance 2 win BIG in BRENDA NOVAK'S PERFECT THANKSGIVING CONTEST! Deets below. *

My wedding anniversary always falls during GTFR, and Male Perspective Guy (MPG) aka, Dave, my husband, and I just got back from a sweet overnight in Chi Town at a kinda' swank hotel. Gotta' love them travel points.

Now, I adore luxe. Since I don't get it too often -- unless by luxe you mean 'lives/works in her jammies and doesn't bathe for days on end' -- I go for it big in romance and, if you're like me, you give thanks for it in the two best places to find it: categories with ultra-wealthy and deliciously jerky sheikhs, CEOs, etc; and, you guessed it, historicals.

I'm unbelievably thankful that you let me spend so much time here 'in the pink,' goin' on 'bout my beloved historical romances. And while I could read one every day for the rest of my life and die happy, I needed some help telling you about all the great ones that are hitting the shelves of late.

Enter another BN.com colleague of mine, new RBTB Correspondent and fellow historicals fanatic Melanie Murray. This GTFR day, Melanie says, "
I'm thankful for the abundance of tortured heroes, the heroines who love them, and the many velvet-lined carriages where they work out their, um, issues."


Why are you thankful for "luxe" in romance? What luxuries in romance do you like best and wish you had in your life? And if you're an historicals fan, why are you thankful for them?


***
The prize: A snazzy new Brenda Novak tote “stuffed” with ‘graphed copies of Brenda’s entire Last Stand series – including the new Perfect trilogy – PLUS Brenda’s new Christmas novella! Have your email addy in comment or available in your blogger.com profile, please.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

RBTB GTFR Day #3: What Friends R 4

CONTEST TODAY - SUNDAY!!! Tell us why you're thankful for romance in the comments in any post today thru Sunday -- or in Becke Davis' "The Perfect Murder" feature -- 4 chance 2 win BIG in BRENDA NOVAK'S PERFECT THANKSGIVING CONTEST! Deets below. *

Back in '06 when my husband's harried statement of, "Why don't you start a blog about romance so you can talk to someone else about RBTB and romances for a change?" inspired this spot, I was bowled over by how many women were searching online for fellow lovers of romance -- and how many didn't have friends who enjoyed the genre.

Soon, I was caught up in the phenom of the cyber-friendship. Two readers who've spent time at RBTB in the past, now are part of the RBTB team, and I'm so pleased to have their expertise and enthusiasm. And the coolest part? Well, sure, they love heroes and naughty bits as much as we do. But today they're sharing a few of their fave things about romance reads.

Gannon Carr says: I could wax rhapsodic about the many reasons I'm thankful for romance, but there's only so much space. So I'll just say that I'm very thankful for the variety of books available. There is literally something to suit every taste. And I'm always thankful for discovering a new author. It's like finding buried treasure -- keeping the secret to myself and savoring such an amazing find and then finally giving into the urge to shout it from the rooftops, "Look what I found!"


And Gannon's certainly hipped us to a few. Gannon's pal and ours, PJ, also is a great go-to, and is someone whom I'm thankful for because she always fills in the blanks for me when I say something like, "There's this romance -- what's the title, again? -- and the hero -- who's name I forget -- and this thing happens -- oh, what was it?" PJ's gettin' pithy and straight to the heart of a couple reasons she's grateful for romance:

PJ Ausdenmore says: I'm thankful for newly discovered authors and long-time favorites who fill my heart and soul with the beauty of their words. And I'm thankful for a resurgence of rough and (always) ready cowboys. Yee-haw!

Tell us about the cyber friendships you've made at online romance spots, and why you're grateful 4 'em!
***
The prize: A snazzy new Brenda Novak tote “stuffed” with ‘graphed copies of Brenda’s entire Last Stand series – including the new Perfect trilogy – PLUS Brenda’s new Christmas novella! Have your email addy in comment or available in your blogger.com profile, please.

Friday, November 27, 2009

RBTB GTFR Day #2: The Things That Matter

CONTEST TODAY - SUNDAY!!! Tell us why you're thankful for romance in the comments in any post today thru Sunday -- or in Becke Davis' "The Perfect Murder" feature -- 4 chance 2 win BIG in BRENDA NOVAK'S PERFECT THANKSGIVING CONTEST! Deets below. *

Last year at GTFR time, I tossed together a happy little post that confirmed my feeling that the guys drawn to romance ain't here just because of SEALs and NASCAR. At least some who read RBTB enjoy erom partly for the hawt heterosexual imagery, cause I heard from several after the post, one who especially enjoyed the featured Lacey Alexander read.

It makes me recall how thankful I am that you've helped make RBTB a place where anyone can dig on any sort of fantasy w/ the expectation of "you go, Bella!" support, even when it ain't our own cuppa. Further, I'm grateful you allow and encourage me to celebrate what I adore most about romance: hot/joyful sex, and outrageously virile men.

Following that lead, RBTB Contributing Editor and my fellow BN.com colleague, Becke Davis, appears to be a dyed-in-the-wool Bella as she steps up on the GTFR soapbox w/ the reasons she's thankful for romance. Becke says:

I give thanks for manly chests with a dusting of hair, packages that only come in one size (extra large), hot guys on Harleys, even hotter guys in darkened sheds, heroines who take multiple orgasms in stride and the hero who goes nuts because the heroine can protect her own damn self.

I love the women who are brave enough to pour their hearts and souls into writing -- and reading -- these books and I feel nothing but pity for those who scorn the romance genre. Maybe if we were guys, calling what we read and write "bodice rippers" would be emasculating. But we're women, so I say -- bring it on!

Maybe if critics actually read romance, they'd realize it's not about balls or bodices, it's about heart (okay, and heat!). I give thanks to romance writers -- you take a lot of crap for what you write, but you've enriched my life beyond belief. Thank you!

Why are you grateful for the men of romance -- and your fellow readers and authors?

***
The prize: A snazzy new Brenda Novak tote “stuffed” with ‘graphed copies of Brenda’s entire Last Stand series – including the new Perfect trilogy – PLUS Brenda’s new Christmas novella! Have your email addy in comment or available in your blogger.com profile, please.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

RBTB GTFR Day #1: The Perfect Contest

CONTEST TODAY - SUNDAY!!! Tell us why you're thankful for romance in the comments in any post today thru Sunday -- or in Becke Davis' "The Perfect Murder" feature -- 4 chance 2 win BIG in BRENDA NOVAK'S PERFECT THANKSGIVING CONTEST! Deets below. *

Today begins the 4th Annual Give Thanks for Romance event here at RBTB! In the past, I've used GTFR as a chance to thank you for sharing your time with me, for encouraging my sophomoric glee in ogling pretty young men and to, hopefully, help you understand how you've helped me, and RBTB, grow and become successful.

This year, I'm fortunate to have gathered a new team at RBTB, and in the next few days they'll tell you why they're thankful for romance, too. For instance, after having been a Bella @ RBTB since 2005, new Contributing Editor Amy Fosseen shows why she's fit in all along.

Amy says, reminiscent of any woman who's worked in a library for years and read romance longer, "I'm thankful for the letter "B": Big, Brawny, Beautiful, Brainy Band of Brothers, Boys...er, men -- Books -- Band of Brothers Books!"

Now, for Amy, that stuttering-with-overwhelmed-by-amour glee for heroes is nothing new 'round these parts. But to relatively new Bella, RBTB Contributing Editor Tracy Montoya, being crazy jazzed over romance stuff -- and sharing it way out loud with all of you -- is fun, but a little disconcerting.

"I'm thankful for the increase in the dark, gritty romantic suspense and paranormals that I love," exclaimes Tracy. But she adds as an aside, "This probably says something disturbing about my general state of mind, but I'm ignoring that for now...."

Well, we don't ignore that kind of exhuberance around here, we celebrate it! That's why you're one of us now, Tracy, mwahahahah! Whether we're giggling with the Bellas who insist they can't read a series out of order -- or waxing rhapsodic over a new book nobody knew about till somebody dropped by to hip us to it -- I get the sense we're all pretty thankful we've found each other, and a place we're all welcome.

I know I'm glad you welcome me every day.

Why are you thankful for romance? Why are you glad to have friends at RBTB?
***
The prize: A snazzy new Brenda Novak tote “stuffed” with ‘graphed copies of Brenda’s entire Last Stand series – including the new Perfect trilogy – PLUS Brenda’s new Christmas novella! Have your email addy in comment or available in your blogger.com profile, please.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feature Review: "The Perfect Murder," By Brenda Novak

By Becke Davis, RBTB Contributing Editor

“Nobody’s Perfect”

Although I’m sure my husband would deny this, I’m not perfect. No, really – I mean, how boring would it be to have a perfect body, a perfect job, a perfect spouse? Well, okay, I can see the possibilities, but imperfection is a lot more interesting. Some people think a Perfect Ten – say, Gerry Butler – is to die for. In real life, perfection would drive me to kill.

It’s a whole different kettle of corpses when a killer gets away with “The Perfect Murder” in Brenda Novak’s terrifying, adrenaline-charged latest release. Sebastian Costas is obsessed, searching for evidence that his ex-wife and son were murdered by a cop believed to be dead.

He’s down to his last lead when he crosses paths with Jane Burke, a new employee at The Last Stand, an organization run by survivors to help victims of crimes. Jane’s ex-husband, a serial killer, nearly added her to his body count. If she can rescue two missing young women, it will go a long way to relieving her guilt.

When it looks as if the supposedly dead cop might be the kidnapper Jane is after, she joins
forces with Sebastian. Their partnership quickly heats up, but trust doesn’t come easily to either Sebastian or Jane. Yet falling in love is the least of their worries, when one false move could cost innocent lives.

In “The Perfect Murder,” Brenda Novak cranks up the tension to a fever pitch – you’ll be yelling warnings when the villain closes in, as if you were caught up in a scary movie. There are six books in Novak’s nail-biting Last Stand Series, starting with “Trust Me,” “Stop Me” and “Watch Me,” and concluding with “The Perfect Couple,” “The Perfect Liar” and “The Perfect Murder.” Deftly plotted, paced to perfection, Novak’s books are taut and suspenseful – a mystery-lover’s delight, with enough heat and heart for the most devout lover of romance. Lock the doors, turn on every light in the house and . . .

Buy the Book!

You might think I was joking about how scary this book was. I kid you not, I totally embarrassed myself in one scene – thank God I was alone in the house, or my husband would have laughed his ass off when I yelled out “Nooooo!” as if I could stop a potential victim from walking right into the murderer’s trap. What about you? Do you laugh or cry over books, or yell out loud? Do you like to be scared, or are you a chicken, too?
***
COOL! Brenda Novak is hosting the first ever FAN 2010 with #1 New York Times Best-selling Author Christine Feehan March 5-7, 2010! What is this? An amazing party that lasts three days. Check out the details at www.fanconvention.net . Registration is limited to 100, and RBTB's Becke Davis'll be among the FANs!
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Buon compleanno, Amy Kennedy, RBTB Contributing Editor!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Laissez Les Bon(Jovi) Temps Rouler

Some of the goals we set when we left school had nothing to do with what we actually wanted for ourselves, and almost everything to do with what we were gonna' show "those idiots" who didn't get how terrific we thought we were. And were'nt we just gonna' rock 'em when we married Jon Bon Jovi? That possibly misguided kind of obsession with getting our hearts' desires is at the center of... READ MORE, BELLAS!

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TOMORROW: Brenda Novak visits when Becke Davis gives you dish on Brenda's Perfect series and "The Perfect Murder!" Don't miss 'em!

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THURSDAY - SUNDAY: 4th Annual Give Thanks for Romance (GTFR) time is here! Stop in to add your messages to the RBTB team's thoughts on why we're thankful for romance. This year, I'll try not to write anything that inspires men to send rather warm greetings in the weeks following. I think it had something to do with the Lacey Alexander book I described last year. That, or my thankfulness for...

Friday, November 20, 2009

As Bad As It Gets


This is about as riled up as I get about anything. But, you know, in a nice way. READ MORE, BELLAS!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Feature Review: "Stranger's Kiss," By Mary Blaney

By Melanie Murray, RBTB Correspondent

I don’t know about you, but I rarely encounter handsome strangers. And they’d come in handy, right? Especially when you’re about to step in a muddy puddle. Or need to make a quick getaway. Or can’t help bursting into tears in a private, darkened room.

Thankfully, there are plenty of good men to be found in historical romances, and they’re always armed with a thick coat for keeping your boots dry, a well-trained horse to spirit you from danger, and a strong, silent shoulder that’s perfect for crying on.

In Mary Blayney’s emotionally rich historical romance, “Stranger’s Kiss,” just such a mysterious hero not only exists, but he happens to know exactly what a woman in tears needs: a gentle demeanor, sympathetic conversation, and a kiss that’ll knock her socks off.


Lynford Pennistan, the Duke of Meryon, has been away from England for the entire year since his wife died. He has reentered the ton but finds social engagements tiresome. At one function, he takes a private moment in an empty salon to compose himself and is shocked to be interrupted by a beautiful woman he’s never met.


The lady is Signora Elena Verano, herself no stranger to heartache. Like Meryon, she’s lost a beloved spouse. And like Meryon, she’s almost ready to move on with her life. After an intimate conversation in which they reveal their inner-most thoughts and feelings, an unforgettable kiss has them each contemplating a possible romantic entanglement.

But when they meet again in the light of day, things get complicated. Both Elena and Meryon begin to feel suspicious of their own feelings. Can Elena sacrifice her independence for a Duke, a man used to people blindly accepting his authority? And will Meryon be happy with a woman who demands more of his heart and mind than he’s used to sharing?

And there’s more blocking their happiness than their own doubts. Elena has a score to settle with the aging Duke of Bendas. Bendas just happens to be Meryon’s sworn enemy, because he once threatened the life of Meryon’s sister. Suddenly Meryon’s worlds are colliding, and he has to decide whether an old vendetta is worth sacrificing his new love.

“Stranger’s Kiss” is a passionate and refined tale of second chances. The emotion between Elena and Meryon is bewitching and all the more enjoyable because the two characters are adults; they’ve each already found love and are bravely willing to try again. The story of how they decide to take a gamble on another go-round will have you cheering when you --

Buy the Book

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Slap Me (FS)5

It's time for you fans -- and soon to bees -- of Jo Davis' Firefighters of Station Five series to rev up your big, shiny, fire engine-sized expectations, 'cause Davis' sexy, action-packed "Hidden Fire " lives up to all of 'em.

"Hidden Fire" at long last tells the story of... READ MORE, BELLAS!
***
TOMORROW: Hang with RBTB historicals correspondent Melanie Murray as she shares with you the d.l. on why there's nothing sweeter -- and more dangerous -- than a "Stranger's Kiss."
FRIDAY: Score another hot read rec for the weekend w/ RBTB CE Tracy Montoya.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cover Story


The hottest covers -- and one of the best erom reads of 2009 -- and why I like em. READ MORE, BELLAS!

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Wednesday: RBTB Correspondent Melanie Murray returns w/ a great new historical.
Friday: RBTB Contributing Editor Tracy Montoya checks in w/a hot category read.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Feature Review: "The Untamed Bride," By Stephanie Laurens

By PJ Ausdenmore & Gannon Carr, RBTB Correspondents

Gannon and I love to talk about the books we’ve been reading! We’re excited to kick off our monthly visits with the Bellas by sharing our gabfest about Stephanie Laurens’ hot new historical, “The Untamed Bride.” It’s the first book in her new Black Cobra quartet and it rocks! The hero is Colonel Del Delborough, one of four sexy, single officers of the East India Company on a mission to bring down an evil villain known as the Black Cobra. They head for England by separate, secret routes, carrying evidence that will finally bring the villain to justice. Del’s the first to arrive.

Gannon: I love this book! And Del’s my kind of hero. He’s dedicated to carrying out his mission but when he gets to England he discovers that his plan has just hit an unexpected snag by the name of Deliah Duncannon. Del’s aunts have offered his services to escort Deliah to her home. He intends to send her on her way, not allowing her to interfere with his mission, but Deliah’s not some biddable young miss, and she refuses to let Del shirk his responsibility. Through a quirk of fate, she saves Del’s life from The Black Cobra’s henchmen, and so, whether Del likes it or not, he’s stuck with her. For better or worse.

PJ: Deliah’s such a contradiction. Here’s this confident, successful woman, capable of holding her own in business and going toe-to-toe (and other delicious body parts) with Del in, and out, of the bedroom. Yet, at her core, she’s still the young girl who believes she isn’t good enough just because she doesn’t conform to society’s accepted standard. I think many of us have felt that way at certain times of our lives. I know I have. Like Deliah, we’ve been judged as too tall, too plump, too smart, too opinionated. You know: that square peg that doesn’t quite fit into the popular circle?

Gannon: Exactly! We put on this brave face, but inside we’re this vulnerable soul longing for love and acceptance. It was wonderful to watch Deliah bloom under Del’s touch. Oh, yes, I did quite a bit of sighing in this book.

PJ: Del’s such a delicious hero. I love his acceptance of Deliah exactly as she is and how he sets about showing her how much she means to him but even more than that, I love the fact that Laurens guides Deliah to her self-defining moment through her association with the Cynster wives.

Gannon: That’s wonderful, isn’t it? Deliah’s convinced these women of the ton will find her inadequate, and instead it’s like she’s found her soul sisters: strong, intelligent women who aren’t afraid to stand up to their formidable husbands. Acceptance by the man you love is a beautiful thing, but acceptance by other women, your friends and peers is what we all wish for. Don’t you think?

PJ: I agree. It’s very satisfying to see Deliah take those first steps toward forming strong bonds of friendship with other women but, with the Black Cobra’s henchmen hot on their heels and Del and Deliah caught squarely in their sights, I wonder if she’ll find her happy ending with Del? To find out, you’ll have to --

Buy the Book!

Is it more important to be accepted by our friends or the man in our life? Have you ever felt like a square peg in a round hole? How did you handle it? What advice would you give to a girlfriend who thought she needed to change herself to meet society's accepted standard, i.e. starve herself to meet Hollywood’s standard of beauty?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SCOOP! PJ and Gannon Join RBTB Team!

I'm so pleased to introduce you to our newest RBTB staffers, women whom, like the rest of the team, already own the talent, goodwill and positive attitudes that reflect the tone you've set here at RBTB. What's more, they're bringing you monthly a look at romance fiction in a style a lot like the one we nurture w/ our best pals who also are romance fans. Their columns are fresh and unique, and you always can count on their take on books to have the heart and generosity of spirit everyone in the greater romance community loves about these two. Please offer your warmest Bella buongiorno to...

Gannon Carr and PJ Ausdenmore
, RBTB Correspondents


PJ and Gannon became cyber pals when dishing romance at fave online spots like Eloisa James/Julia Quinn BB, SquawkRadio.com and RomanceNovel.tv. Soon, they found they had even more in common, like a love of college football, dogs and chocolate, which works out great ‘cause PJ makes the best, and Gannon loves to eat it. They first met in person at Celebrate Romance ’08 and try to hook up whenever possible, like at RWA ’09 in DC where they attended the Bella Breakfast.

PJ’s pal Gannon discovered romance novels when her seventh-grade English teacher, Mrs. Parker, recommended a Victoria Holt novel for a book report. It was love at first page! As a long time, vocal supporter of romance fiction, Gannon’s spent lots of time online gabbing about the genre with like-minded individuals at various blogs, boards and, most recently, as a reviewer for RomanceNovel.tv.

Gannon’s pal PJ’s always enjoyed sharing her love of romance fiction with others. A few years ago, friends suggested PJ write about the books she’d read and, while she likes to think they were encouraging her literary ambitions, she suspects they were probably just trying to shut her up. PJ does love to spread the word, and her enthusiasm has led her around the net – even to RBTB where she’s hung for the last two years -- and on to a gig reviewing with RNTV.

In addition to being delighted to join the RBTB team, PJ and Gannon are pleased to invite you to join them daily at TheRomanceDish.com, the new romance blog/review site they just launched with two RNTV colleagues!

Gannon and PJ will write columns about friendship, family and the stuff women seem to understand best -- all related to themes in new romances they love. What kinds of things do you like to talk about with your best gal pals who also love romance? What types of romances do you think PJ and Gannon should be on the lookout for?

Tomorrow: Catch PJ and Gannon's debut column! They'll give their fresh take on Stephanie Laurens' "The Untamed Bride."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Breaking Lhoose

Some of us take longer to catch on than others, and many might accuse me of being queen of th' aforementioned "some."

For instance, first time a friend told me a series 'bout a band of studly vampire warriors would be the Next Big Thang, I agreed to check 'em out, then closed the first tome at chap 2, unable to take another mohment of extrhaneous Hs.

Upon second reading... READ ON, BELLAS!
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TOMORROW: Meet RBTB's NEW duo of correspondents who'll bring you monthly their unique look at romance in a debut column Thursday! They're old pals from 'round the net, with a fresh take on love stories and friendship...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Punked

Penelope Ashe was nomme de plume of award-winning Newsday reporter Mike McGrady and 24 colleagues who in the late 1960s set out to punk consumers by writing "Naked Came the Stranger," a bestselling, "tawdry" genre-fiction sexcapade. They eventually came clean when guilt set in over the scads of cash they were making off unsuspecting readers.

I'd like to give props to anybody who coughed up bucks for those "tawdry" books, and anyone still braving the condescension of folks like "Penelope Ashe," eager to equate the erotic in genre fiction with a) even poorer writing than one "generally expects" from mass-market novels, and b) low-brow tastes among readers and the authors who... READ MORE, BELLAS!
***
Wed: Meet RBTB's New Duo and Thrs check out their debut column!
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Congratulazione, KatsRUs! You've won Caridad Pineiro's GuestBlog prizes!
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Friday, November 06, 2009

Caridad Pineiro GuestBlog: Alpha's Alpha

CONTEST TODAY!!! One Lucky Commenting Bella (LCB) wins a "Sins of the Flesh" T-shirt and a copy of "Fury Calls" courtesy of Caridad! Have your email addy available to participate, please.

From Caridad: Buongiorno, Bellas! I am so happy to be here today with you to talk about one of my favorite things – empowered heroines!

Whoa. Hold up. Rewind. Did you say “empowered heroines?” You’re probably thinking, “What about all those dark, dangerous and sexy guys we love in your books? They’re not your favorites?”

Well, yes of course, I love those bad boy alpha men, but here’s a secret – without those incredible empowered heroines, those sexy guys wouldn’t be very interesting at all. Just remember that old adage, “Behind every great man there is a great woman.”

Just think about it for a second. Okay, maybe more than a second. Would such a strong hero really fall for a heroine that was too stupid to live? Not for a moment.

Those powerful alpha males need an equally capable partner who is able to stand beside them, watch his back or protect and raise his family. The alpha male needs a woman who can tend a wound as easily as she can change a diaper. And he needs someone in whose arms he can relax and let down his guard after a long day of battling the real baddies.

So what kind of alpha female is that dark, dangerous and sexy hero going to fall for?

It doesn’t matter whether that woman is handling the demanding job of running a household or managing a Fortune 100 company. The key is that she is going to have to have enough gumption, as they say in historical novels, to stand up for what she believes in, even if it’s not what the hero wants to hear. She is not going to be afraid to control her own Fate no matter how much the alpha male tries to protect her.

How else are sparks going to really fly and how else is that female going to tame that alpha beast?

In reality, I think it’s why we like stories where the alpha male meets his match. Or at least, I do. I totally enjoy seeing two powerful people coming together in conflict and resolving their differences to emerge stronger than they would have if they had stayed alone.

To me real romance is about partnership and being equals in a relationship. Of course it may not always start out that way, but for the big takeaway at the end, it has to finish that way.

Think about some of the best empowered heroines and their heroes: Eve Dallas and Roarke (does he even have a last name and who cares if he does!); Anita Blake and Jean-Claude/Richard; Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler; or Aislinn and Wulfgar from my all time favorite "The Wolf and the Dove," by grand dame Kathleen Woodiwiss.

What about your favorites? Do you think that an alpha male could fall in love with anything other than an empowered heroine? What don’t you like about empowered heroine? I’ve had at least one reader tell me that a woman who can do too much destroys the romance fantasy for them. Does it destroy it for you?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Feature Review: "Captive of Sin," By Anna Campbell

By Melanie Murray, RBTB Correspondent


I’ve been a goner for fairy tales since I was a child, dressing as Cinderella and searching my backyard for talking mice. (I never found one; we had a very efficient cat). These days, like many former fans, I get my fix for happy endings from historical romances. The beauty of these modern fables is that we often get to find out what happens after the handsome stranger saves the helpless lady. And it can be absolutely thrilling when, as Julia Roberts says at the end of “Pretty Woman,” the heroine rescues the hero right back.

In Anna Campbell’s “Captive of Sin,” there’s a good, healthy amount of danger to go around. What starts as a standard damsel-in-distress tale quickly deepens into the kind of gripping, only-love-can-pull-this-hot-man-from-the-edge-of-emotional-disaster story that makes the main characters seem like well-matched equals. Just like in “Pretty Woman,” they need each other in order to survive. Well, they might survive without one another, but their lives wouldn’t be as joyful.

That might be where the “Pretty Woman” comparisons end. The heroine Charis Weston isn’t a working girl – far from it. A twenty-year-old heiress whose future is in the hands of her two vicious stepbrothers, Charis makes an unplanned escape from their restrictive and damaging guardianship. She’s without money, means of transportation or even a destination in mind when England’s greatest hero, Sir Gideon Trevithick, discovers her at a desolate moment.

At first, Gideon is the very picture of the dashing prince: tall, dark, commanding, cool under pressure, willing to set aside his plans for a desperate woman he barely knows. Charis falls for him immediately, and her feelings only deepen when Gideon dramatically and decisively helps her elude her brothers’ clutches.

But there’s more to Gideon than meets the eye. He’s just returned to England. People refer to him as a hero, yet he has trouble accepting their praise. He won’t speak to Charis of where he’s been, or the experiences that clearly haunt him. And he’s full of contradictions: at once willing to protect her and seemingly stirred by her beauty, but distant and snappish if Charis gets too close, either physically or emotionally.

And this is where the fairy tale fulfills many of our adult demands: Charis refuses to let Gideon fester in despair and solitude. She wants a life full of love and children, and she’s determined to have it with him, no matter how hard it will be to make it work.

Anna Campbell creates a heart wrenching story that pits Charis’ youthful belief in love against Gideon’s jaded lack of hope. And the result is an emotionally satisfying, sensual push-and-pull between two headstrong characters you can’t help but root for. You will want that happy ending, both for Charis and Gideon. But to find out how Charis rescues Gideon right back, you’ll have to --


Buy the book.

Do you like stories where the hero is the one who needs to be saved? What are your favorites? And what fairy tale clich├ęs do you think make for the very best romances?
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Tomorrow: Caridad Pineiro GuestBlogs!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

SCOOP! Melanie Murray Joins RBTB Team!

Over the coming weeks, you'll be seeing some bright, cheery new faces 'round these parts as you meet more of RBTB's new team. I've carefully chosen these folks not just cause they're talented, but also because you can count on them to keep up the tone you've set at RBTB while they work both online and offline throughout the romance community. Once again, I've poached from the creative team at BN.com to bring you a new friend who'll be reporting about the latest reads in historical romance -- yeah, she had to wrest the sug-genre from me kicking/screaming -- and, hopefully, who'll be keeping us abreast of the latest trends in lusty carriage scenes. Please, Bellas, offer a warm buongiorno to...

Melanie Murray, RBTB Correspondent, Historicals

Melanie Murray has never worn a corset, flounces, or white hair powder; been whisked away by a handsome rake and held “prisoner” in a velvet-swathed barouche; or forced into a marriage to rescue her titled-yet-poor family from social doom. But she does dream that all these things happen to her on a regular basis. And she reads a lot of historical romance to keep her dreams alive.

A published author of two chick-lit novels ("Good Times, Bad Boys"/"Miss Bubbles Steals the Show") and one young adult title, Melanie spent five years as a romance editor at Grand Central Publishing, where she happily worked on romances, along with other wonderful fiction and nonfiction titles. Melanie now moderates the Romantic Reads forum at BN.com and spends a large chunk of the day ordering and re-ordering her towering historical romance collection according to author, title, to-be-read, and to-be-reread.

Melanie’s thrilled to be able to share her love of historical romantic fiction with anyone who’ll listen, especially the RBTB Bellas. You can hear more about her favorite books on Twitter, where she’s tweeting as Melanie_Murray.

Check out Melanie's debut Feature Review tomorrow, as she gives you the d.l. on FOB Anna Campbell's "Captive of Sin!" Who knows, maybe our pal Anner'll stop in for a visit... :)

Which historical romances and authors of 'em should Melanie keep on the lookout for? What are some of your faves? And, how do you order your towering romance collection?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

S'Cool, Marm

There's a popular scenario that fulfills our heroine-placeholder needs - especially when we nestle into any of the above cozy categories - and overrunneths our cups 'o big, strappin'-hero fantasy. That set-up would be the much revered, and not hardly done nearly enough these days... READ MORE, BELLAS.
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Tomorrow: Meet our newest RBTB team member! Catch her debut Feature Review Thursday! Friday: Caridad Pineiro GuestBlogs!

(Light)Skirt The Issue

If you asked me how to define mature women who are confident in their sexualities and who choose to perform mutually satisfying acts of indescribably erotic pleasure for men in exchange for lavish gifts of jewels or money, I guess I'd call 'em, well, wives and girlfriends. But today, it also could define the popular girl-for-hire at the forefront of a popular erotic-romance fantasy... READ MORE, BELLAS!
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Tomorrow: Meet our newest RBTB team member! Catch her debut Feature Review Thursday! Friday: Caridad Pineiro GuestBlogs!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

One Way Out

Lori Foster's got a cool contest going on that helps raise funds for one of her fave non-profits, ONE WAY FARM for ABUSED AND ABANDONED CHILDREN. For each dollar you donate, score a chance to win one of 3 Gigantic prizes including the grand prize of signed copy of Lori's upcoming "Back in Black," PLUS 2 Nights Stay and Paid Registration Fee for Lori's 2010 Reader/Author Get-Together! Ex: $5 = 5 chances to win. Donate and score more Deets here. Contest ends Dec 20, 3 pm EST.

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M. Night Shyamalan's "Sixth Sense" was one of the frikkin' scariest movies many of us ever had seen, right? I mean, thanks, M, for totally wiggin' us out with the whole "I see dead people" thing, right along with that earnest little boy's learning to happily coexist with undead as sorely in need of consciousness raising as they were hair-dos that didn't favor icky, matted gunk.

The idea of shades of the dead wandering our... READ MORE, BELLAS!
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This Wed, you'll meet our newest RBTB team member, and Thursday, you can catch her first Feature Review! You're gonna love her style. Until Wed, I'll be directing you to H2H, cause I'm having a silly little surgery done and will be out of commish for a couple days. Happily for me, I hear the pain meds are marvelous. TMI?