Romance Report : Cupid's Choices By Martina Bexte (February, 2004)
Romance readers know that February is the most romantic month of the year. For Valentines 2004, Cupid has notched his arrows and hit the bull's eye square on target with new releases, all featuring plenty of hearts and kisses.
Reviewers' Raves and Faves
Liz's top pick is Susan Kay Law's Wedding Story, 'a fabulous romantic adventure with a sensuality that makes the pages sizzle'. Melissa couldn't decide which she liked the best: Tommy Tenney's Hadassah or Ray Blackston's Flabbergasted. Kim had only good things to say about two 'engaging page-turners': 7 Days and 7 Nights by Wendy Wax and Susan Crandall's Road Home. Rashmi picked Jane Feather's turn of the century Bachelor List for just the right balance of romance and a 'war of wits and words'. And my pick is Lynn Michaels' outstanding Return Engagement - a character rich, often funny story with dynamite leads.
Celeste Bradley is back with The Spy, 3rd installment in her exciting Liar's Club series - James Cunningham has been given the mission of finding the daughter of a code-breaker and possible spy; little does he realize that Miss Phillippa Atwater is hiding in plain sight in his own house. Julianne Maclean continues her series featuring three American sisters out to land themselves English husbands in the charming An Affair Most Wicked. Adventurous middle sister Clara sets her innocent sights on Serger Wolfe, the Marquess of Rawdon, undeterred by his wicked reputation. Laura Lee Guhrke presents a charming plain Jane story in Guilty Pleasures - Anthony Courtland has no idea how much he treasures his shy 'artifact restorer' until his sister insists on helping her find a husband. And in Elizabeth Thornton's Shady Lady, war hero and confirmed bachelor Waldo Bowman locks horns and wits with publisher Jo Chesney after one of her reporters derides Waldo's lifestyle.
Mainstream & Contemporary
Two powerhouse writers are back this month with titles sure to please. The incomparable Deborah Smith returns with Charming Grace. Grace Vance has no intention of allowing an aging, thick-necked, action-adventure star to canonize her FBI agent husband, who sacrificed his life to save others. But with bodyguard Boone Noleen running interference, Grace's determined plots to sabotage the set begin to lose their momentum. And Susan Elizabeth Phillips presents Ain't She Sweet?. Sugar Beth Carey has thrived on ruining other peoples lives. Now, left penniless after a string of bad marriages, Sugar Beth returns home to find her grandmother's lost painting as a source of fast cash - but her search is derailed when old friends decide to settle scores. Rachel Gibson pens another sure winner, Daisy's Back in Town, about past relationships, a secret baby, and the consequences for Daisy Lee Monroe and her very bitter old flame, Jackson Parrish. If it's fast cars and romance that revs your romantic engine then check out Kimberly Raye's Kiss Me Once, Kiss Me Twice - Clint MacAllister, looking to settle down after fifteen years on the racing circuit, sets his sights on Skye Farrel, a woman who's a whiz at sex seminars but whose personal life is a mess.
Cupid brings readers great romantic suspense. Debra Webb continues her Colby Agency mini-series with a meatier offering, Striking Distance. The agency's 'elite specialists' once again try to track down elusive bad guy Errol Lieberman and his minions before they wreak havoc against director Victoria Colby. J.D. Robb ignites another hot and exciting case for Lieutenant Eve Dallas in Divided in Death. A double murder hits close to home for Eve's husband Roarke, when one of his most trusted employees is found standing over the bloody bodies of her husband and his lover. Roxanne St. Claire's latest is sure to please - lies, cover-ups, international thieves, assassins with a conscience, and ancient treasures are the order of the day in French Twist. And Karen Rose offers the exciting Have You Seen Her? It's up to Special Agent Steven Thatcher to stop a killer from luring teenage girls to their deaths. Rose, who writes a gripping, multi-layered and stylish story, is a new suspense author to watch!
Fantasy & Paranormal
Catherine Asaro lends her name to the second release in Harlequin's new LUNA fantasy line with The Charmed Sphere. Chime and Iris are important to the aging King of Aronsdale; both girls are 'shape mages', whose rare and evolving powers are vital to stave off a war and to continue the royal line. Judi McCoy pens the charming, Wanted : One Perfect Man. So the Three Triads proclaim, sending Zara to Earth to find the perfect mate. And if you're in the mood for shorts, check out this new anthology, Irresistible Forces, featuring powerhouse writers Catherine Asaro, Lois McMaster Bujold, Mary Jo Putney, Deb Stover, Jo Beverly and Jennifer Roberson. Their stories range from a brand new Miles Vorkosigan to one in which two magical beings try to thwart the Spanish Armada.
New romance magazine ARABELLA made its debut last month. The Premier issue was a big hit and readers are clamoring for more. Besides nine new and hot romantic tales (including a serial penned by Eugenia Riley) here's a sampling of what you'll find in the upcoming issue: an interview with Sharon Sala, advice from the Love Doctor, delicious recipes, and a romantic getaway to Spain's Alhambra Palace. To learn more about ARABELLA, visit their website. And stay tuned for updates on Harlequin's brand new line, BOMBSHELL, debuting later this year - just the ticket for those who crave action, adventure, thrills, chills, kick-butt heroines ... and yes, romance too!
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