Female friendships were central to Kit Rocha’s Beyond books, with their leather-clad sisterhood ready to fight for their chosen family. In Deal with the Devil, Dani, Maya and Nina are a misfit trio of former bodyguards, information couriers, and genetically modified soldiers, serving and protecting a small community in the ruins of Atlanta, trading in information and creating community through a post-apocalyptic library. Scarred by losses they fiercely protect each other and are deeply suspicious of the band of renegade super-soldiers who show up on their doorstep with a tempting offer, the location of one of the Rogue Library of Congress cache’s.
Intense action, illusion/deception, trust and loyalty are at the heart of each Hidden Legacy novel. Can the Baylors hold together as family against all-comers, can they stay true to who they are when things are at their worst? Just how much sacrifice and punishment can one family take?
Ethan Night is a psychically damaged Arrow, walking a knife’s edge, worried about being used as a weapon by those who long abused him, disconnected from the squad that rescued him, unsure that he is safe to be around others and his world so gray he isn’t sure he should even try.
In the final book of the Consortium Rebellion, Chaos Reigning, Catarina the youngest of the von Hasenbergs, takes center stage when the survival of not only her house but the whole Consortium is at stake. Catarina is used to being dismissed by others, hiding her sharp mind and unexpected strength behind frivolous conversations and colorful accessories.
A great romantic suspense series needs to be able to balance romantic tension and pulse-pounding action, sustaining the momentum throughout the whole book, while crafting a believable resolution to both the intrigue and the romance. Juno Rushdan’s Final Hour series, packed with spy-thriller staples, secret installations, high-stakes interventions, coupled with fascinating characters and intense plotting delivered a great adrenaline rush and romantic punch. It is rare to be as invested in both the romantic and action story-lines as I was when reading the Final Hour series, but neither the action and romantic tension ever flagged.
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing has all the hallmarks of a classic house-party mystery: isolated location, communications cut-off due to unexpectedly bad weather and a full cast of shady characters with hidden motivations. Full of tension and secrets, Adhara continues to craft fascinating mysteries while complicating and deepening the relationship between the cross-species crime-solving & romantic partners, Dayton and Park, who in this installment go undercover at a relationship retreat while tracking a missing person.
In A Prince on Paper, a made-for-the-tabloids relationship provides a much needed distraction from a kingdom-shaking referendum for Johan and an opportunity to escape for Nya. Nya and Johan at first glance seem an unlikely match, a smothered and cloistered teacher and a globe-trotting serial heart-breaker, yet Cole develops a sweet and believable intimacy rooted in the secrets they share only with each other.
A while back, we talked to Ana about being selected as a judge in The Ripped Bodice's first ever Awards for Excellence in Romance Fiction. Informally known as "the ribbies," this award is judged a bit differently than others. TRB put together a diverse team of judges and had them discuss the books they thought represented the best in Romance, rather than a system involving self-nomination, money or simple popularity (such as in the Goodreads Readers Choice Awards). You'll find the full panel of judges and more information about the contest here.
Sometimes the urge to do something is so strong you just have to go with it. I’ve been reading romance for close to a decade and as we close this decade I felt a great necessity to look back at the Romance novels that marked me as a reader. Although I only started reading romance seriously during 2010, I started with what my library collection had, so my first romance novels were really books that had been out for years (Balogh, Kleypas, Quinn, Garwood, Dodd, Krentz and Chase). They were an excellent crash course on romance, if Romance is only for white, cis, straight historical ladies. I don’t regret reading them, I just regret thinking they were the only things out there.