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Romance Report : Mad May Romance
By Martina Bexte (May, 2004)

It's that mad, blissful, frivolous, 'lusty month of May' again, time to try something new in romantic reading - and we have a big selection for you to choose from ...

Reviewers' Raves and Faves

The Ocean Between UsMelissa raves that Sarah Webb's Always the Bridesmaid is 'very cute chick lit', and she found Marian Keyes' latest, The Other Side of the Story, hilarious. Kim enjoyed Cara Lockwood's amusing Pink Slip Party, in which Jane McGregor's life spirals out of control after she's laid off. My faves include The Ocean Between Us, another emotionally gripping story by Susan Wiggs, about three women who love military men. Don't miss Eileen Dreyer's latest complicated (and very chilling) suspense, Head Games. On the lighter side, I enjoyed following starchy Lydia's campaign to prove that Luke Reynolds' escort service is nothing more than a front for gigolos in Sheridon Smythe's Mr. Complete.

Historical Romance

Rules of EngagementNewcomer Kathryn Caskie makes her debut in Rules of Engagement - two elderly spinster sisters mistake a war manual for advice on how to snare a husband and insist that their niece take its strategies to heart. Kinley MacGregor (aka Sherrilyn Kenyon) launches a brand new medieval series, The Brotherhood of the Sword. Her first installment, A Dark Champion, features Stryder of Blackmoor. This troubled Crusader lives by the sword and swears that no woman shall ever have his heart. Perennially popular Jo Beverly returns with Skylark, another sensual tale in which a young widow makes a pact with an elegant stranger to keep her son safe from the machinations of her greedy brother-in-law.

Bettina Krahn continues her humorous Brides of Virtue series with The Marriage Test. After Griffin, the 'Beast of Grandaise', samples the marvelous cuisine created in the convent's kitchens, he makes a bargain with the steely eyed Abbess to obtain Julia of Childress's services for one year. But soon Griffin finds himself much more interested in the delightful and headstrong Julia, than in her cooking. And Lady Whistledown Strikes Back with another collection of inter-connected tales that are sure to charm. They are penned by some of the genre's most popular authors, including Julia Quinn, Karen Hawkins and Suzanne Enoch.

Mainstream & Contemporary

Heat WaveMay seems to be the month to debut fresh names and faces. Kathy Love delights with her breezy release, Getting What You Want, the first in a series featuring the Stepp sisters. Though going back to her hometown was the last thing on Abby's agenda, when the local bad boy shows an interest, she decides Millbrook isn't so bad after all. The talented Melanie Craft is back with Man Trouble. By day, Molly Shaw's a history professor, but by night she becomes popular historical romance author Sandra St. Claire. Molly agrees to help a reporter friend land an interview with playboy billionaire Jake Berenger. She figures her romance writer persona is a foolproof disguise, but Jake's onto her in no time, and blackmails her into posing as his fiancée.

Heat Wave is the second of Jill Marie Landis's contempories set in the small California town of Seaside Cove. When PI Kat Vargas is forced to take R&R after being shot in the hand, she agrees to house sit for her boss. Just when workaholic Kat gets used to slowing down, Ty Chandler asks for help in tracking down his teenaged daughter. Harlequin offers up two enjoyable anthologies just in time for Mother's Day: Jill Shalvis, Brenda Novak and Alison Kent take a humorous look at 'meddling mothers' in Mother, Please! And in Mother By Design (by Susan Mallery, Christine Rimmer, and Laurie Paige), three friends who are tired of waiting around for 'Mr. Right' decide to tackle motherhood on their own terms.

Romantic Suspense

Night's LandingStephanie Bond's Party Crashers is another involving, humorous story that follows Jolie Goodman's search for missing boyfriend Greg. She really wants to know why he drove his car into the river with a dead woman in the trunk. Jolie might have bitten off more than she can chew, even with the aid of her two 'party crasher' friends and hunky media heir Beck Underwood. Veteran Carla Neggars brings her many fans another nifty story in Night's Landing. After Sarah Dunnemore's twin brother is targeted by a sniper, she returns to Tennessee to learn the truth about the attack -- one that could ultimately destroy the president.

Cait London presents another tension-filled story in What Memories Remain, about the continued mysteries surrounding a twenty-year-old murder. And if shorter fare is more to your liking, check out In Their Footsteps, a collection of taut romantic suspense stories written by reader favorites Tess Gerritsen, Amanda Stevens and Kay David.

Paranormal & Other Worlds

Dime Store MagicThe latest in Kelley Armstrong's knockout Women of the Otherworld series is Dime Store Magic. It leaves werewolves behind and focuses on Coven Leader Paige Winterbourne's struggle to unite her secretive sisterhood and deal with their centuries long rivalry with the Sorcerer Cabals. Susan Krinard is back with Kinsman's Oath, the story of two telepaths whose actions and involvement could change the course of both their worlds. The buzz about Kim Harrison's Dead Witch Walking is loud and positive. The story features kick-butt heroine/witch Rachel trying to keep order in an alternate Earth, where a bio-engineered weapon has decimated the population and left supernatural creatures to rule.

Kathleen Nance presents the second in the 2176 series with her offering, Day of Fire, a dark story in which a bio-plague has isolated Canada from the rest of the world. It's up to Mountie Day Daniels and Health Canada investigator Dr. Lian Firebrand to stop revolutionaries on the verge of setting off a new and even deadlier plague. And Charlaine Harris returns with another Sookie Stackhouse adventure, Dead to the World. The mind-reading waitress, who has finally dumped her two-timing boyfriend Bill, swears off creatures of the night forever. But no sooner does that vow cross her lips than she's involved with another vampire who's lost his memory.

Enjoy being mad for romance this May!
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.