HelenKay: Books centered on kidnapped children know no genre boundaries. Missing and endangered children are as plentiful in fiction as they are in life. Mysteries and thrillers are logical places to find these fictional children in peril. Romantic suspense and literary fiction often provide fertile ground for this plot as well. While some books like Lovely Bones explore this subject from a fresh angle, many others travel the same path. This relative sameness drains some of the emotion from the suspense aspect of the read. Kate Pepper avoids the read-this-all-before feel in her book One Cold Night by focusing less on the kidnapping than on the desperation and uncertainty of those left behind. The result is a full and engaging exploration of loss, love, deceit and faith.
HelenKay: For years romance readers have complained about the too-stupid-to-live (TSTL) heroine. This is the woman who acts in ways that defy common sense and reality. The nonsensical decisions they make come both in the face of true adversity and in reaction to mundane problems. Many times this TSTL woman is too insecure to make a life decision without the approval of her mother or father or grandparent or priest or neighbor or 4th grade teacher or someone in an equal position of power. Despite this, somehow and without explanation, she can take on a McGyver-like quality and diffuse a Tomahawk Missile with her barrette using only the knowledge she gained while growing up on a Kansas farm.
In spite of, or maybe in reaction to, these TSTL heroines comes the kick-ass heroine. These ladies don’t need family permission to take a job or a caucus of friends to pick which man to date. Many can shoot, run, kill, diffuse and fight. Unfortunately, many of these ladies also defy common sense and reality, mostly because of their ability to morph from “normal” to superhuman with little explanation. In those cases, the contexts of their kick-ass natures are wrong. But there are others. Silhouette Bombshell promises from the outset a “strong, savvy, sexy heroine who always saves the day.” A reader goes in expecting a kick-ass heroine with specialized skills and an attitude to match. The worry isn’t that the reader will encounter a TSTL heroine. A kick-ass heroine is guaranteed. The worry then is that the kick-ass heroine won’t convince or stay true to who she is and her surroundings. Wendy Rosnau overcomes all of these worries and delivers on the Bombshell promise with the compelling romantic thriller The Spy With The Silver Lining.
We all survived May, the month of the Scavenger Hunt. For those who played along – thank you and good job. Your Google skills are impressive. For those who didn’t – what, do you guys not like getting free books or something?
First, we have a winner in Scavenger Hunt Kassia Style. She is Jennifer Yates. Congrats!! Send us an email with your contact information, and we’ll get your autographed copy of The Comeback Kiss out to you.
For those scared off by the idea of trying to figure out Kassia’s questions, and you know who you are, here are the questions and correct answers:
1. This husband-and-wife writing team won both the Golden Medallion (the precursor to the RITA) in 1987. The inimitable Sharon and Tom Curtis, writing as Laura London.
2. Sticking with our dynamic duo, this title, written under their pseudonym, featured an Amish woman and a former child actor. The classic Sunshine and Shadow (Kassia cannot believe that HelenKay couldn’t get that one!).
3. Last but not least, this same couple was included in this magical anthology also featuring award-winning author Jo Beverley. When You Wish… The story was the incredible “The Natural Child”. Jennifer gets bonus points for guessing this one because Kassia was staring at the wrong book while she was typing (it was supposed to be award-winning author Elizabeth Elliott — Kassia apologizes and will clean her desk this weekend).
Now for a new contest…
Summer is upon us. At PBR we look at this as a time to be lazy, read and eat. Really, those three can be done all year round, but summer is a good excuse for extra laziness, reading and food. We’ve got the laziness and food parts handled but could use a little help on the reading part. For this month your job is simple (ie, limited Google searching required): you pick a romance subgenre (ie chick lit, romantic suspense, category, historical, paranormal, comedy etc.) and give us three review choices from June and July 2006 releases only in that subgenre. The other requirements: the authors can’t be authors we’ve reviewed before AND at least one of your selections has to be from a debut author. Yes, this may require some searching on PBR. We have one of those nifty search screens on the sidebar. If you’re not sure if we’ve reviewed a particular author before, put in the name and check (hint: that’s faster than reading every single review we’ve ever done, but feel free to read them all if you want to). You can offer suggestions in more than one subgenre category – just do it in separate emails. One subgenre per email.
Here’s the good news: for all your hard work in offering these titles, if we pick your title you get that book and a few others of our choosing. If more than one person picks a title, we’ll randomly select which one of you gets the review book, but all who pick the title will get some free books. Really, how easy is that?
HelenKay: With so many paranomal offerings following the lives (or undead lives, as the case may be) of vampires, witches, werewolves and other nightstalking creatures, a reader can find anything from funny to horror on the shelves. Paranormal reads of the vampire variety range from the more harsh, like Kassandra Sims’ The Midnight Work, to light and charming, like Kerrelyn Sparks’ How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire. Recent witch/Wicca stories tend to fall more on the humorous side, but the not-so-funny are available, too. If the quest then is to find something new, to set one paranomal apart from the one read before, what happens if an author combines funny with serious and vampires with witches? Tate Hallaway provides the answer in Tall, Dark & Dead. She even throws in the Goddess of Evil, and witch hunters who get their orders straight from the Vatican.
HelenKay: Loving a new author can be a dangerous thing. You hear about a book, take a risk and buy a hardcover by an unknown, enjoy the debut, recommend the book to everyone you know and sit to wait not-so-patiently for the next in the series to arrive in the bookstores. When that second book arrives, you’re excited and a bit apprehensive. The worry? Book #2 may not live up to Book #1. The release of Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights carried with it that level of excitement and that twinge of danger. It is the follow-up and second in a series by new author Kyra Davis. Her first, Sex, Murder And A Double Latte, was one of those books. One hyped and highlighted in magazines and Big Newspaper reviews. Davis’ first book hit the shelves with a significant amount of fanfare and excitement. Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights enjoyed a quieter release but one still highly anticipated. The good news is that Davis’ second book does not disappoint.
HelenKay: Jumping into the middle of an ongoing romantic suspense series is a risky proposition. The plot is running. Backstories have been told. Many times the villian has appeared and disappeared, and it’s time to find him again. The fear is in being unable to keep up or, worse, in being unable to catch up and immerse. Hide in Plain Sight avoids many of those pitfalls by keeping a tight focus on this installment of the series.
HelenKay: Romance and serial killers – two topics one might not view as being compatible. Books about one generally don’t sit on the shelves with books about the other. Sure, some authors write romantic suspense. Some write it very well. In most, the suspense centers around a crime or a murder. Some even touch on multiple murders. In Are You Afraid? you get a creepy serial killer. Scary and suspenseful – it’s all in here. So is a smart and realistic romance between two wounded and lonely people.