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Romance Report: An Abundance of Romance
By Martina Bexte (September, 2005)

It's time to pack up the bathing suit, beach umbrella, and sun block and start thinking about cozy indoor activities. Isn't it handy that settling in with a good book can be accomplished just about anywhere? Check out this Fall's abundant selection of romantic reading - you're certain to find a few choices that will cater to your particular tastes.

Reviewers Raves & Faves

AdoredMarie says that Stephanie Lessing's She's Got Issues is 'a brilliant first novel', and gives high marks to Amanda Scott's Lord of the Isles and Anjali Banerjee's Imaginary Men. Kim found Danielle Steel's Miracle 'a poignant story about love, loss and the hope of renewal'. She says Eileen Rendahl's Balancing in High Heels makes you think about real life's issues despite its 'touch of exaggeration', and recommends Cara Lockwood's Dixieland Sushi as a hilarious account of a single girl's escapades at her cousin's wedding.

Shannon found Tilly Bagshawe's Adored a wonderful throwback to the era of escapist novels where the beautiful, rich, and ruthless operate in the glamorous worlds of filmmaking and fashion. She calls Lynda Curnyn's Killer Summer 'chick lit with an interesting mystery angle that kept me turning pages, with plenty of laughs along the way'. Personally, I can't say enough good things about The Hunger, Susan Squire's marvelous sequel to The Companion, a unique and riveting vampire romance. Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Match Me If You Can turns power match making into a warm and often hilarious story. And Tess Gerritsen is at her best in Vanished, a thriller you'll find hard to put down.

Historical Romance

A Touch of NightSusan Spencer Paul's Touch of Night follows the magically inclined, and often humorous exploits of the Seymour family. After Midnight, first in a new series by Teresa Medeiros, introduces the Cabot sisters - when Caroline, discovers that her sister is engaged to a vampire, she's understandably taken aback. In The Smoke Thief, Shana Abe introduces a secretive society, whose members change from human form to dragon. Julianne MacLean's Love According to Lily concludes her Langdon sisters trilogy with the exploits of Lily, whose 'romantic nature' cannot be swayed. Celeste Bradley continues her Royal Four series in Surrender to a Wicked Spy, an adventure-filled tale of the exploits of 'The Lion'.

In Kathryn Caskie's A Ladies Guide to Rakes, Meredith Merriweather sets out to prove that rakes do not make ideal husbands. Diana Gabaldon's A Breath of Snow and Ashes, the long-awaited sixth in the popular Outlander series, is set in pre-Revolutionary America where Jamie and Claire make hard choices about using their knowledge of the future. Dear Penelope by Sharon Ihle finds Lucy jilted on her wedding; she seeks independence by working in a saloon and secretly writing a clever advice column, 'Ask Penelope'. Diane Perkins' The Marriage Bargain spins a captivating tale of a marriage of convenience with two very likeable leads. And in Liz Carlyle's One Little Sin, rakish Sir Alisdair MacLachlan gets his just deserts when a woman arrives at his manor claiming he is the father of her child.

Mainstream & Contemporary

Match Me If You CanVicki Lewis Thompson continues her humorous Nerd series with Gone With the Nerd - actress Zoe Tarleton studies her nerdy entertainment lawyer in hopes of winning a coveted movie role. Kimberly Raye rounds out her Farrell sisters series in a delicious story, Sweet as Sugar, Hot as Spice. In Match Me if You Can, Susan Elizabeth Phillips delivers wonderful characters caught up in a complicated matchmaking game, with plenty of walk-ons from Chicago Stars football franchise favorites. In Susan Wiggs' latest charmer, Lakeside Cottage, struggling single mom Kate Livingston falls for reclusive JD Harris, a man determined to hide from his national hero persona. In The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, Samantha Sweeting falls from one unbelievable situation to another, with humorous results.

Cathy McDavid's X-Treme Dating mixes two career-minded people, reality television and a no holds barred approach to finding love. The Passport Diaries by Tamara Gregory, follows burned out lawyer Kia Carson as she heads to Europe for six weeks of fun and frolic. Find out what happens when Manhattan girl, Kate Klein, makes a move to the suburbs in Jennifer Weiner's Goodnight Nobody. Candace Bushnell (creator of the mega-hit Sex and the City) takes readers into a Lipstick Jungle where she follows the lives of three Manhattan women in search of success and love. Want to get into the holiday mood a little early this year? Then check out Lisa Plumley's Once Upon a Christmas, a lively collections of three seasonal novellas sure to make you smile.

Romantic Mystery & Suspense

VanishIn Tess Gerritsen's disturbing Vanish, detective Jane Rizolli and medical examiner Maura Isles reunite to uncover a government conspiracy. Sandra Brown presents another tangled thriller, Chill Factor, where all is not what it seems in the small town of Cleary, North Carolina. The talented Karen Rose brings her growing list of fans an involving romantic suspense in Nothing to Fear. Nora Roberts' Blue Smoke tells of Reena Hale's decision to become a firefighter after seeing her family's restaurant destroyed by an arsonist. Eileen Dreyer's Sinners and Saints is a suspenseful psychological thriller that follows a forensic nurse's attempts to unravel the twisted trail of missing family members in New Orleans.

Karen E. Olson's debut, Sacred Cows reveals police reporter Annie Seymour's attempts to uncover the circumstances surrounding the death of a Yale Student. Virginia Kantra's Close-Up has a suspended cop and a photographer on the run from a cult leader and his dedicated followers. Mariah Stewart's Hard Truth finds Lorna Stiles and private investigator T.J. Dawson on the trail of a small town serial killer. And in Lori Avocato's One Dead Under the Cuckoo's Nest, insurance investigator Pauline Sokol goes undercover in a mental institution (run by a cross-dressing nun) to expose insurance fraud.

Fantasy, Paranormal & SF Romance

The HungerHit man Tony Giodone is back for an encore in Moon's Web by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp - tracking a creature that's murdering fellow Sazi shape shifters. What happens when a rich vampire needs quick dental work? Find out in Kerrelyn Sparks' amusing How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire. Werewolves, vampires, demons and humans maintain a precarious existence in Marjorie Liu's fast paced futuristic A Taste of Crimson. Kaylin thought she'd left her past behind, but children are once again being murdered in the dark streets of Elantra in Michelle Sagara's imaginative Cast in Shadow.

Linnea Sinclair offers a double whammy of outer space adventure and romance in Gabriel's Ghost and Finder's Keepers. In the former, Captain Trilby Elliot rescues an enigmatic stranger from certain death and in the latter, Chaz Bergren, 'pride of the 6th Fleet', teams with mercenary Gabriel Sullivan to find out who's secretly breeding vicious jukors.

Caitlin Brennan's Song of Unmaking (sequel to last year's The Mountain's Call) follows Valeria's Kerrec's magical connection to the god-like stallions that rule their empire. Don't miss The Hunger by Susan Squires, a beautifully written story that delves into a unique and provocative vampire world. Robin T. Popp puts another nifty twist on the vampire mythos in Out of the Night, involving the South American legend of El Chupacapra. And in Grave Sight, Charlaine Harris introduces Harper Connelly's unusual ability to find bodies and know exactly how they died.

Romance News & Author Announcements

Chick lit continues its climb in popularity and Warner Books hopes to broaden the choices for readers with Five Spot, 'a new line of trade paperback books that are smart and fun, with attitude to spare, and geared toward women who share those attributes'. The first in the series is Liza Palmer's Conversations With the Fat Girl.

Rowena Cherry's short story, Mating Net (a prequel to her novel Forced Mate), will soon be available through New Concepts Publishing. K.C. Hopkins' Loving Me can be found at most online retailers. Joyce Henderson urges fans to look out for her new historical romance, Written on the Wind. And Mary Winter invites all her readers to check out her two books, Tangled Lives and Gold Medal Daddy, at Wings Press.

Lisa Plumley reports that she's just finished her Harlequin historical, the final book in the Morrow Creek matchmakers' series, and has a new contemporary romance cooking too. In addition, she says her editor at Kensington has 'put together a group of 'blind date' themed stories by Theresa Alan, Holly Chamberlin, Marcia Evanick, and me ... it's totally wacky - readers certainly won't forget it once they've seen it!'. Check out a sneak peek of her I Shaved My Leg's For This?!, due out in January, 2006.

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