TBR Challenge – Things That Go Bump in the Night

everywheresheturns This month we’re reading romantic suspense and paranormals for the TBR Challenge. I’ve been gradually packing up for a move over the past month, so finding a book that (1)fit the category and (2)wasn’t boxed up posed something of a challenge in itself. As a result, I ended up reading the first romantic suspense I came across, Debra Webb’s 2009 release Everywhere She Turns. I don’t recall buying this one and all I can say after reading it is that it wasn’t just an average, run-of-the-mill thriller. This one was bad, even offensively bad at times. If I read this for review, I’d give it a solid D-.

So, what do we get in this story?
– misogynist villain killing women? Check.
– heroine with a chip on her shoulder who has returned home from the big city? Check and check.
– skanky villain sex? Check
– hero from the heroine’s past who might still have the hots for her ? Check Continue reading

New Special Title Lists Open!

list We’re pleased to announce that we’re opening four more Special Title Listings for your suggestions. Even though it’s summer we hope you’ll be able to help us once again and offer some great suggestions for the following lists: (1) Suspense & Mystery; (2) Sports Romances; (3) Heroes in Pursuit; and (4) Heroines in Pursuit.

We look forward to seeing your submissions for these lists starting today Monday June 10 and going for the next two weeks ending Sunday June 23 at midnight. As a reminder, any additions to the list have to be: (1) the best of the best, (2) stand the test of time, and (3) actually fit the list for which they were submitted.

Suspense & Mystery
: While AAR is a romance site, we also recognize that many AAR readers – and staff – love romantic suspense as well as traditional mysteries with strong romantic elements. In this list we feature romances filled with intrigue, mystery, and mayhem. Traditional “gothic” romances are included, and suspense or mystery novels with a strong romantic sub-plot may be listed as well. It’s been over four years since this was last updated and based on the active thread on mystery and suspense on the Let’s Talk Romance Novels forum, we’re hoping to see a lot of great submissions from you to add to the list. Continue reading

What’s With All the Female Victims?

Clock at Ravenswood by Lou Marchetti A few years ago, one of my Literature professors asked me, “Aren’t romance novels just about a woman finding a man to take care of her?” I had to explain to her what we all know, that modern romance novels are about partnership and mutual love and support – not finding a “protector.” It’s a misconception I often come across.

Unfortunately, there are some circumstances in which it is uncomfortably close to the truth. Romantic Suspense novels are particularly and oddly contradictory in this. So many heroines are strong women and strong characters – who then find themselves made victims by the author and put in the role of a damsel in distress. Continue reading

What Makes Romantic Suspense Work?

karenrose I know there are romantic suspense workshops out there for writers. I’ve seen them mentioned at RWA, among other places. But what makes romantic suspense good for the reader? In reviews, we often mention the balance between romance plot and suspense plot, but I don’t think that’s really all we can go by. After all, you can have a romance that splits the plotting 50-50, but it just never gels. And then there are books like Viper’s Kiss or like many of Karen Rose’s romantic suspense thrillers where the suspense portions of the plot really dominate the story. However, the romance still works. It may get less time and fewer pages, but the leads still have plenty of chemistry.
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Rumors of Death Greatly Exaggerated?

graveyard Lately (as in during portions of the past few years when I haven’t been too dazed from work to notice), I’ve been seeing fewer and fewer actual romantic suspense books out there. I see urban fantasy and paranormal romance with suspense plots worked in, and historicals with their suspensey and/or spy-related subplots, but not a lot of actual romantic suspense that takes place among humans. I read across a variety of genres, so I almost didn’t notice it at first. However, as I scanned my bookshelves recently, I noticed that I’d been reading plenty of straight mysteries and thrillers, including some with romantic subplots, but I wasn’t seeing a lot of romantic suspense.

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