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Summer Romance Report
Sizzle & Burn - Hot Summer Romance!

By Martina Bexte (June, 2006)

A leisurely summer is synonymous with great beach reading, and publishers and booksellers always go the extra mile to bring romance fans the kinds of books they seek to while away those long summer days. So sharpen your pencils, boot up your Blackberries and start taking notes - I forecast another hot batch of inviting summer reads!

Reviewers Raves & Faves

ShiverBelle loved Lisa Jackson's Shiver, which she calls a 'prime example of what romantic suspense should be: passionate, edgy and absolutely thrilling'. She also gives a nod to Jennifer Armintout's Blood Ties Book 1: The Turning, saying the story features 'one of the most incredibly sexy tormented heroes I've ever had the pleasure to come across'. For Marie, Caprice Crane's Stupid and Contagious and Finishing Touches by Deanna Kizis stood out. Melissa's recent favorites are Charles Martin's When Crickets Cry and Grace in Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs.

Martina can't heap enough praise on Susan Grant's Your Planet or Mine?, an August release with action, adventure, car chases, deadly assassins, lots of humour, and an alien/earthling love story you won't soon forget. Kitty Goes to Washington by hot new paranormal author Carrie Vaughn is another must read; it's fresh, funny, smart, and entertains to the last page as politics and the supernatural world collide. Finally, Linda Lael Miller has written another wonderful western romance; Sam O'Ballivan is The Man From Stone Creek, an Arizona ranger you won't soon forget.

Historical Romance

Colleen Hitchcock makes her debut with Rabbit Heart, a unique dark story that breaks various romantic boundaries by featuring a murderess and a notorious libertine as main characters. Another debut author, Diane Grove, takes readers back to early Scandinavia and Byzantium in Maidensong, where slave Rika struggles to find independence and love amidst betrayal and deceit. Mary Jo Putney offers another enchanting regency tale with a touch of magic in The Marriage Spell - Jack Langdon lies at death's door after a riding accident and only powerful wizard/healer Abigail Barton can save him. But can a man who abhors magic of any kind accept her gift of life and of love?

The Man from Stone CreekLinda Lael Miller is back with another wonderfully authentic western romance in The Man From Stone Creek. Sam O’Ballivan rides into the lawless border town of Haven masquerading as the new schoolteacher and soon realizes that postmistress Maddie Chancellor and her unruly little brother offer more of a challenge than the outlaws he's after. Laura Lee Guhrke presents another captivating tale in She's No Princess; sparks fly when English diplomat Sir Ian Moore is tasked to find a prince's illegitimate daughter the perfect husband before she commits yet another indiscretion. Julia Quinn enchants with On the Way to the Wedding, the last book in her Bridgerton series. This time it's Gregory's turn to find love, but will he choose Hermoine Watson or her friend Lucy Abernathy?

Johanna Lindsey brings her many fans another swashbuckling adventure featuring the Malory family in Captive of My Desires. A pirate friend of James Malory sends his young daughter to England to find a husband, but when a dashing American sea captain snubs Gabrielle, she vows a pirate's revenge. When a childless elderly Duke offers twins Griffin and Garnet St. Albans his title, they agree. But there's a catch - the first one to marry will inherit - Kathryn Caskie pens another charmer in Love is in the Heir. Cheryl Sawyer presents a story rich with political intrigue and adventure in The Code of Love, where naval officer Gideon Landor and a lady, Delphine Dalgleish, are both on the trail of the secret Napoleon Code.

Follow the life and adventures of Eleanor of Aquitaine in Margaret Ball's richly detailed Duchess of Aquitaine, the story of a woman who insisted on making her own decisions, including divorcing her husband the king and going after the magnetic Henry Plantagenet. Sue-Ellen Welfonder brings medieval Scotland to life once again in Until the Knight Comes. Kenneth MacKenzie wants to live an isolated life but when he finds an accused murderess has invaded his keep, a battle of wills and words is inevitable. And Carolyn Davidson, Cheryl St. John and Jenna Kernan all contribute to Wed Under Western Skies, an old west anthology in which June weddings take center stage.

Mainstream & Contemporary

Single in SuburbiaThe always-delightful Debbie Macomber is back with another charmer in Susannah's Garden; the death of Susannah Nelson's father and the decline of her mother force her to take stock of her own life choices. In Animal Instincts, Gina Showalter does an often-amusing job of showing how a newly divorced party planner re-invents herself from doormat to tigress. But can a woman with serious trust issues resist a guy like Royce Powell? Wendy Wax brings us another winner in Single in Suburbia; after Amanda's husband suffers a mid-life crisis she's forced to become the breadwinner and starts her own cleaning business. Soon Amanda's flushing out all sorts of her neighbors' dirty little secrets.

What happens when a single mother agrees to play the part of a bad-boy politician's fiancée in an effort to help him clean up his act? Find out in Susan Donovan's amusing romp, The Kept Woman. Jill Barnett's much anticipated new release, The Days of Summer, is a poignant, emotionally rich multi-generational saga that follows the lives, loves and family tragedies of the Bannings and the Peytons. Sue Civil-Brown creates another set of quirky characters and amusing situations in Hurricane Hannah. Hannah Lamont is forced to ditch her jet on a tiny spit of land called Treasure Island, and is soon fending off the affections of the island's lone alligator and bar owner Buck Shanahan. Carly Phillips rounds out her Hot Zone Trilogy with Hot Item - Sophie can't keep her mind off star quarterback Riley Nash and begins to believe the old adage that opposites attract.

Elizabeth Bevarly dishes up another OPUS adventure in Express Male. The fun and intrigue begin when Marni Lundy gets herself involved in the hunt for a rogue agent named The Sorcerer. Meg Cabot charms with her hip and chatty new story, Queen of Babble. Lizzie falls for a suave Englishman, follows him to London and discovers he's not what he seems. Now she's stranded with a broken heart and her non-transferable ticket. With Summer at Willow Lake, Susan Wiggs kicks off what she calls a 'trio of novels about the lives and loves of the Bellamy family' - this one's sure to pull at the heartstrings. And Luane Rice delivers another emotionally charged story in Sandcastles, where a family is shattered when husband John is imprisoned for murder - his return four years later only causes more turmoil.

Mystery & Suspense

Code Name: BlondieChristina Skye continues her action-packed series with Code Name: Blondie where paranormally enhanced SEAL Max Preston rescues mouthy blonde Miki Fortune from certain death after her plane is forced down in a hurricane. Things only get stormier as they work together to stop a renegade operative. Michele Albert pens an engaging romantic adventure in Hide In Plain Sight, where book dealer Fiona Kennedy is mixed up in international intrigue while helping Griffith Laughton track down a stolen manuscript. Cynthia Baxter is back with her fourth installment of her Reigning Cats & Dogs series - Hare Today, Dead Tomorrow; this time veterinarian Dr. Jessica Popper must help her best friend and colleague Suzanne clear herself of a murder charge.

Linda Howard returns with another edge-of-your-seat romantic thriller in Cover of Night, where bed and breakfast owner Cate Nightingale and a mysterious local handyman join forces against armed intruders. Holly Lisle is in top-notch thriller mode with I See You. Paramedic Dia Courvant faces daily horrors, but none compares to discovering her husband dead in a car crash. Since that day, terror from beyond the grave has been stalking her. Nora Roberts brings her legion of fans another riveting read in Angels Fall. After surviving a brutal crime, Reece Gilmore flees to a small Wyoming town to start fresh but trouble follows her when she witnesses a murder. Prim and proper librarians seem a favorite character type for mysteries. In Jo Dereske's Bookmarked to Die, Helma Zukas must not only discover who murdered a local author, but also figure out who's holding her cat hostage.

Florists also make great part time sleuths as evidenced by Kate Collins' Snipped in the Bud, where Abby Knight is fingered as prime suspect after one of her black rose arrangements turns deadly for a former professor. Casey Daniels introduces a brand new amateur sleuth series in Don of the Dead; all sorts of weird and amusing things happen when the ghost of a mob boss asks cemetery tour guide Pepper Martin to track down his killer. And Suzanne Brockman delivers more thrills and winter chills in her latest Troubleshooters romantic adventure, Into the Storm, where a winter training exercise turns into a life and death struggle to outwit a brutal serial killer.

Fantasy, Paranormal & SF Romance

BrokenGet set for more Women of the Otherworld mayhem in Kelley Armstrong's Broken. Pregnant werewolf Elena Michaels is going out of her mind being pampered and takes a little R&R in Toronto to steal a letter supposedly penned by Jack the Ripper - she accidentally releases crazed zombies from an alternate dimension. Susan Grant begins a brand new series in her absolutely charming Your Planet or Mine? As a child, Jana Jasper retreats into an imaginary world where anything is possible, even meeting Peter Pan. Peter returns years later to help save Earth from invasion and to offer Jana his heart.

Carrie Vaughn continues to exercise her smart, fresh and very readable new voice in Kitty Goes to Washington - late night radio celebrity Kitty Norville is summoned to Washington to testify at a special Senate hearing on behalf of all supernaturals. Newcomer Marie Brennan presents an intriguing tale in Doppelganger; in Miryo and Mirage's world, twin witches are not tolerated. Neither young woman knows of her sister's existence. Now one must kill the other to retain her special powers. Charlaine Harris brings her many fans another Sookie Stackhouse mystery in Definitely Dead. Sookie's found new romance with a sexy were-tiger, but their first date turns into a fiasco when they're attacked by several drug crazed werewolves.

Stephanie Rowe's Date Me, Baby, One More Time is another over-the-top story that finds Justine Bennett (who also happens to be the Guardian of the Goblet of Eternal Youth) falling for pretzel king Derek la Valle. But he's got a death sentence hanging over his head - one she's supposed to carry out. Susan Kearney presents another sexy interstellar adventure in The Quest where Rystani warrior Kirek must stop the deadly Zin invaders but his success rests on the cooperation of fiercely independent salvage pilot Angel. Robin T. Popp continues her nifty Night Slayer series (based on the el chupacabra legend) in Seduced by the Night. Changeling Dirk Adams and Dr. Bethany Stavinoski must stay one step ahead of enemies who want Beth to develop a serum to cure their vampirism.

The TurningJennifer Armintrout's The Turning has ER doc Carrie Ames attacked and turned into one of the undead. Only two men can help her cope: her sire Cyrus and vampire hunter Nathan Grant. Lynn Viehl continues her complicated and very gritty Darkyn series in Dark Need - assassin Lucan finds himself under suspicion for murder and also stuck in the middle of centuries-old and very volatile Darkyn politics. C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp return with another SAZI shape shifter story in Captive Moon where were-cat entertainer Antoine Monier finds more than he bargains for after Stuttgart police alert him to the location of one of his stolen cats.

Tate Hallaway spins a fine debut tale in Tall, Dark & Dead. Is Sebastian Von Traum a vampire, zombie, or recently deceased and doesn't know it yet? Garnet Lacey is determined to find out before Vatican assassins terminate them both. And check out these two entertaining anthologies: first take an imaginary trip down the streets of Mysteria, a little Colorado town filled with all sorts of weird creatures and weirder goings-on. This imaginative and often quirky anthology includes contributions by Susan Grant, Gena Showalter, Mary Janice Davidson and P.C. Cast. Plentiful characters and open-ended situations leave room for possible sequels. See how a mysterious painting created by a sorcerer changes the lives of others in Midnight Magic, with story contributions by Rebecca York, Susan Kearney and Jeanie London.

Romance News & Author Announcements

Deborah Smith is offering readers free chapters of her upcoming August release The Crossroads Café - find out more at Deidre Knight reminds everyone that the release date for Parallel Heat is in October. She continues exploring the mysteries of alternate realities in another gripping adventure where two sworn enemies must set their differences aside to avert a war between human and otherworldly warriors. Shelley Bradley's Strip Search, due out this month, tells the story of a sexy CPA who didn't expect he'd have to go undercover as a male stripper in the mobster's Vegas club.

Eve Silver wants her fans to stay tuned for His Dark Kiss this November. Governess Emma Parrish feels passionate yearning for her employer, Anthony Craven, a mysterious lord with dark secrets that may well include murder. Check out for updates, extras, excerpts and breaking news about her next gothic, Dark Prince, coming August 2007 from Zebra Books. Here's a taste of Gena Showalter's current and upcoming releases: in Enslave Me Sweetly, Eden Black protects humans from other-worlders, but can the fiery assassin protect herself from human agent Lucius Adaire? Playing With Fire is a September release that follows the exploits of Belle Jamieson - she wakes up to discover she's been turned into a superhero by an evil scientist. Find out more at

Maureen Child's June Silhouette Desire release is Satisfying Lonergan's Honor - Jake's honour demands that his illegitimate son be given the Lonergan name and his passion demands he claim the woman he couldn't get enough of years before. July 1 sees Wendy Etherington's Blaze release, Just One Taste - Vanessa figures a single night with Lucas Broussard won't be her downfall but once is not enough with this man. Check out all of Wendy's titles at Jennifer St. Giles' Touch a Dark Wolf - on book shelves in August - is the story of a woman who finds love in the arms of a dangerous shape shifter. Learn more at

Sylvia Day is proud to announce the release of her historical, Ask For It, set in 1770 England. Beneath the silk and lace of London society lies an elite organization of spies who protect the crown from its enemies. But Marcus Ashford must also protect his heart from an unyielding passion. For additional information and excerpts go to Patricia Haley's September release, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, tugs at the heart with human frailty and family dysfunction, begging the question - can faith in God's promises and a pinch of unconditional love enable the unforgivable to be forgiven and the painful sting forgotten?

Nalini Singh invites readers to 'dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind — and none of the heart' in her September release, Slave to Sensation. Find more at Robin D. Owens' Heart Quest will hit the shelves in September. Trif is going door-to-door with her charm key to find her heart mate but what she doesn't know is that Guardsman Ilex Winterberry has already found her and must protect the vulnerable Trif from a vicious murderer. There's more at

Queen of BabbleDon't miss our recent e-interview with Meg Cabot. Over the summer BookLoons will be posting a series of new interviews. In July we'll chat with the incomparable Linda Lael Miller who'll talk about her new western romance, The Man From Stone Creek and the seven other books she's releasing in 2006-07. Susan Grant is going to talk about her first in a great new intergalactic romance series, Your Planet or Mine? Next up in August is Shirley Damsgaard, who's making waves with her paranormal mystery series featuring psychic librarian Ophelia Jensen. And for those who enjoy dark gritty thrillers with a touch of romance, Anne Frazier will talk about her upcoming September release Pale Immortal and explain why she loves sending chills down reader's spines.

Here's hoping your summer is filled with lots of hot romantic reading.
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.