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Autumn Romance Report : Falling in Love
By Martina Bexte (October, 2004)

October winds bring changes to BookLoons Romance Reports; we've switched from monthly to seasonal, but will continue bringing you special issues to celebrate Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and of course Halloween. Have your pencil ready because the Halloween issue (coming soon) is stuffed with a scintillating assortment of sizzling, sexy and creepy classics that'll keep your pumpkin-shaped candles burning into the wee hours.

Reviewers' Raves and Faves

Undead and UnemployedWe've had a busy summer sampling romances. Rashmi chuckled her was through MaryJanice Davidson's Undead and Unemployed, a 'comical, slightly bizarre and continuously droll' story that will leave readers 'craving more'. And she calls Stephanie Bond 'at the top of her form in her latest zany crime caper', Whole Lotta Trouble. I give top marks to The Damsel in This Dress by newcomer Marianne Stillings, in which an early hilarious scene at a writers' conference sets the tone. And check out Jennifer Crusie's latest, Bet Me, another of her trademark modern romantic comedies.

Historical Romance

The Butler Did ItKasey Michaels returns to Regency England for another amusing comedy of errors, The Butler Did It. Sue Ellen Welfonder continues her series centered around the McKinnon brothers in Wedding for a Knight. If you're in the mood for a good old fashioned gothic featuring stolen gems, a curse, murder and mayhem, try Rebecca Brandywyne's The Ninefold Key. Celeste Bradley returns with The Charmer, fourth in her wonderful Liar's Club series. This one features Collis Treymayne and Rose Lacey, about to set out on her first mission for the shadowy club. Laura Lee Guhrke pens another moving tale, His Every Kiss, featuring a disillusioned composer and the woman who helps him re-discover his gift. 1930's Calcutta is the backdrop for Morag McKendrick Pippin's Blood Moon Over Bengal - a headstrong adventuress falls in love with half-caste Major Nigel Covington-Singh.

Bertrice Small sets Tudor England ablaze in Philippa, her latest tale of passion and intrigue. In Gayle Callen's The Beauty and the Spy, Charlotte Whittington is taken captive by Nicholas Wright after overhearing secrets about a traitor. In Patricia Potter's Beloved Imposter, Rory MacLean desperately want to bring peace between clans; is marriage too high a price? Judith Hand steps back in time to the Peloponnesian Wars and follows Achilles' plan to conquer Amazon Queen Pentha in The Amazon and the Warrior. An embittered army officer is forced into taking pampered Jessica Haven along on a dangerous trek in Kate Bridges' The Proposition. In Susan Kay Law's A Wanted Man, gunslinger Sam Duncan finds himself playing bodyguard to the daughter of a wealthy tycoon. And Jacquie D'Alessandro's latest Regency, Love and the Single Heiress, is another tantalizing gem.

Mainstream & Contemporary

Since You’re Leaving Anyway, Take Out the TrashBarbara Delinsky delves into the complicated lives of the survivors of a horrific boating accident in The Summer I Dared. Dixie Cash's amusing down south murder mystery, Since You’re Leaving Anyway, Take Out the Trash, is full of Texas slang and twang with two leads who keep reminding themselves they can’t stand each other. Alayna will work for anyone to fulfill her dreams, even her law firm's rising star, the arrogant Ben Richards, in Karyn Langhorne's A Personal Matter. Jennifer Crusie hits her comedic stride again with Bet Me, a savvy story in which Minerva Dobbs overhears a bet that involves her with love-'em-and-leave-'em Cal Morrisey.

Don't let the corny title of Marianne Stillings' The Damsel in This Dress fool you; this hilarious story has all the right ingredients and Stillings is a new author to watch. Pat White is back with another romantic romp around the wrestling ring, Ring Around My Heart. In Susan Mallery's Someone Like You, Jill Strathern heads home after both marriage and career go into a tailspin - things look up when she discovers her old flame's also back to town. Lisa Wingate offers another rich cast of characters in book two of her Texas Hill trilogy, Lone Star Café. And chick lit star Sophie Kinsella returns with her 4th tale of the consequences of Becky's bad spending habits in Shopaholic & Sister.

Romantic Mystery & Suspense

Whole Lotta TroubleProsecutor Tessa Jacobi and PI Luke Novak team up to find a troubled teen runaway in Heather Lowell's No Escape. In Julie Garwood's Murder List, detective Alec Buchanan isn't thrilled when he's assigned to watch over socialite Regan Madison after someone sends her grisly murder clues. If you’re in the mood for high octane action adventure in the Arctic, then Cherry Adair's On Thin Ice is the book for you. Olga Bicos pens an intricate web of intrigue and drug company shenanigans in her latest gritty suspense, Dead Easy. In Nora Roberts' Northern Lights, Nate Burke accepts a job in Alaska to escape bad memories, but soon finds himself entangled in a twenty year old murder mystery.

Karen Rose brings her growing legion of fans another intricate thriller, I'm Watching You, that sees ADA Kristen Mayhew and detective Abe Reagan trying to outguess a vigilante who sends Kristen tokens of each kill signed 'your humble servant'. Beverly Barton concludes her Cherokee Point series in As Good As Dead - when Reve Sorrell comes home to investigate her background, she becomes the target of a killer. Lori Avocato's first offering, A Dose of Murder, sees nurse Pauline Sokol trading in her tongue depressors for a private investigator's license, often with amusing results. Christina Skye's newest SEAL hero, Hawk Mackenzie, teams up with Jess Mulcahey in Code Name: Princess to find a stolen lab animal. And in Stephanie Bond's Whole Lotta Trouble, three New York editors come up with the perfect plan to expose a sleazy literary agent; when he ends up dead their troubles really begin.

Romance News Flash

Harlequin continues to make sweeping changes that include cutting back on various category lines like Temptation and Intimate Moments while beefing up others like Blaze and Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Their Flipside line will be discontinued entirely. In 2006, the romance giant will launch two brand new imprints: NEXT will offer four titles per month, each following the lives of women entering new stages in life and SPICE is the name of Harlequin's new erotica line. TOR is also launching a new paranormal romance line this fall. Stay tuned for more in our Halloween column.

Happy romantic reading this Fall!
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.