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Category: other people’s books

Let’s play “Subvert the Archetypes”!

I was thinking about archetypes the other day and how often romance adheres to them. But, for me, there’s a special thrill when I realize an author has decided to turn an archetype on its head. So I asked Twitter for recommendations. There wasn’t the immediate outpouring of recommendations like I had for the “Difficult” heroines list, but boy do these books sound GOOD.

I’ve done my best to organize them – where a book seems to land in more than one category, it’s repeated. Know another title that would fit? Leave a comment or chat with me on Twitter!

Celebrities and Athletes that Don’t Behave Badly

Tired of smashed guitars and sex with every groupie that moves? Some books for you.

Lauren Blakely – Female rock star – Far Too Tempting (Per me)

Kristen Callihan – NFL football player hero who’s a virgin – The Game Plan (Per Lisa Lin)

Michelle Hazen – Rock stars behaving well – A Cruel Kind of Beautiful and Playing the Pauses (Per me)

Kristina Mathews – Baseball star who isn’t a player – Better Than Perfect (Per the author) – ON SALE

Elsie Moody – an A-List Hollywood actor who ISN’T a manwhore or alpha-hole – Buzzworthy  (Per the author)

Lily Morton – both Asa (actor) & Jude (model) are much different than their typical character types. THEY’RE AWESOME too – Deal Maker (Per Em Wittmann)

Sarah Mayberry – Rodeo rider who isn’t a player – Tanner (Per me)

Flipping the “Experience” Script

Books that buck the idea that the more experienced partner needs to be older, male, or both.

Kristen Callihan – NFL football player hero who’s a virgin – The Game Plan (Per Lisa Lin)

Alexis Hall – m/m BDSM romance with older more experienced MC who is the sub and a young, inexperienced guy learning to be a dominant. – For Real (Per Ellie Reads)

Ruby Lang – brother is concerned about how his little sister will treat his (less experienced) best friend rather than the other way around – Clean Breaks (Per the author)

Theresa Romain – she’s the rake, he’s the virgin – To Charm a Naughty Countess (Per me – this one also has a home in my “Favorites” folder on my Kindle)

Sherry Thomas – Heroine is older & an emotionally distant doctor and hero is a beta sweetheart – Not Quite a Husband (Per Theresa Romain)

Date My Sister, Please

I personally grind my teeth at the “Don’t you dare date my sister, BFF.” If he’s such a dirty dog, why are you friends with him? It’s okay if he’s a jerk to any woman you’re not related to?

Lori Foster – where the brother was basically like “WTF took you so long? I’ve been trying to get you to date my sister for ages because you’re awesome and you two clearly are into each other” – Fighting Dirty (Per Heather)

Ruby Lang – brother is concerned about how his little sister will treat his (less experienced) best friend rather than the other way around – Clean Breaks (Per the author)

Tiffany Reisz – the brother doesn’t give a fig that his sister is sleeping with his best friend because she’s an adult who can do what she wants. Refreshing! – Her Halloween Treat (Per Christine Maria Rose)

A.E. Via – Best friend’s son trope. The dad support his son in wooing his best friend. The best friend have a talk with the dad first – Promises: Part I (Per Salimes)

Beta Dukes and Billionaires

They can’t all be super-take-charge alphaholes, right?

Manda Collins – Beta Duke – Duke With Benefits (Per the author)

Courtney Milan – Beta billionaire – Trade Me (Per Lisa Lin, also a favorite of mine)

Ailments that Just Are

No faux inspiration or special treatment.

Ruby Lang – hero with allergies – Acute Reactions (Per the author)

Theresa Romain – Hero has depression (in a historical!!) and explains it to the heroine as “this is me, this is what I face, it doesn’t have a ‘fix’”- Scandalous Ever After (Per Meghan Barbato)

Katie Ruggle – MC is an agoraphobic but she’s funny, flirty, and physically super strong – In Safe Hands (Per Michelle Hazen)

Catchall

Manda Collins – Vivacious wallflower – Wallflower Most Wanted (Per the author)

Elin Gregory – goofy, wiggly werewolf – Sheep’s Clothing – (short, Per the author)

Julie James – Twitter terrorist Kyle Rhodes is NOT some awkward computer geek – About That Night (Per Lisa Lin)

Alexa Milne – six foot plus rugby player with a liking for lingerie – Sporting Chance (Per the author)

Lucy Parker – Ex is a nice person – Pretty Face (Per Therese Beharrie)

Ainslie Paton – Homeless hero – Inconsolable (Per the author)

Gretchen Riley – good-times motorcycle series where the heroines ride and the heros are betas in bad boy wrapping paper – The Mutiny Dolls series, starting with Every Last Mile – FREE (Per the author)

Charlotte Stein – The bully becomes the best kind of cinnamon roll – Never Sweeter (Per K.T. Gilbert)

Licks by Kelly Siskind

New book alert! I do love Kelly’s books, and she keeps getting better and better. She’s got a new one coming out (seriously, I can’t keep up with this woman – I’ve read the first book in the series, need to read the second, and now I’m telling you about the third?) and it sounds awesome. I do love a good second chance romance…


36 hours is a short spell when racing the clock.

2,160 minutes is an eternity for old friends to fall in love… 
 
August Cruz is the only man I’ve ever loved. 
He’s the one who got away. 
He’s the one I totally screwed over. 
 
Now he’s standing on my doorstep, nine years later, but he’s not the only thing that turns up. My mother’s lost diary is in my hands, and it might lead me to my father. A possibility I wished for one year ago, at my last birthday. 
 
I have 36 hours to fulfill that wish. 
I have 36 hours to drag August on a wild scavenger hunt. 
I have 36 hours to protect my heart before I lose him again…because there’s something he’s not telling me. 
 
LICKS is a full-length, standalone Sexy Second Chance Romance with a swoony Happily Ever After, releasing April 4th!

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

Lucy Parker’s MAKING UP

At long last, Lucy Parker’s cover for her third London Celebrity book has been revealed. And it is stunning.

I’m not usually one to squee over covers. I can appreciate a good one, I will sometimes blink like hell at a bad one, but covers don’t usually inspire me with the desire to run around like a maniac and yell, “IT’S SO GOOD.”

But this one does.

And I’ve also had the great good fortune to read it already (shh. Don’t kill me). She’s flipped her usual script here: instead of giving us a grumpy hero, she’s given us a grumpy heroine (hence her inclusion into the list of prickly heroines). And Trix’s prickliness is earned. The reason for the enmity between Leo and Trix is revealed so skillfully. Oh, just pre order MAKING UP already. Please.

And if you haven’t read the other two books in the series (ACT LIKE IT and PRETTY FACE), what are you waiting for? (Oh, and by the way, I’m jealous of you that you get to read them for the first time).

MAKING UP’s cover can be seen at HEA USA.

Tidying Up the House at Hag Corner

Okay, so yesterday’s FESTIVAL OF LOVE FOR “DIFFICULT” HEROINES has spilled over into today and the librarian in me is looking at the list in all of its jumbled, dysfunctional glory and thinking, “This needs to be organized. Now.” So, now! New and improved! Subgenres! Ordered by author’s last name, then title if there are more than one!

NB: All recommendations are tagged with the name/Twitter handle of their recommender. If one person seems to have the same taste as you do, you can control-f search to see if they’ve rec’d more than one. One of the conversations that was spawned on Twitter off of this is how, as with any subjective judgment, different people have different definitions for “difficult” (which I’m using as a sort of helpfully vague term for a list of characteristics that result in certain readers see the heroine as “being mean” when other readers see her as enforcing her boundaries, taking no shit, or other similar actions).

The long (and getting longer), non-exhaustive list of difficult, prickly, cranky, etc. heroines of romance:

Contemporary

  1. Jewel E Ann, JACK & JILL series, (Per KT Gilbert)
  2. Sandra Antonelli, DRIVING IN NEUTRAL – I wrote a heroine who did a not very nice thing when she was angry. She regretted doing it: made apology, but I still got flack for writing her that way–even though her rection was utterly human. I like unlikable, imperfectly mannered heroines. (Per the author)
  3. Lexxie Callahan, THE FALL OF THE RED QUEEN – She is the villainess in books 1 and 2 of the series and gets redeemed here ( with a hero who is willing to look below the surface)
  4. Andie J. Christopher, DUSK UNTIL DAWN and BEFORE DAYLIGHT – Maya from Dusk Until Dawn threatens to light the hero on fire in scene one. And Laura in Before Daylight is super mean. It’s not a coincidence that they’re my favorites. (Per the author)
  5. Jessica Clare, THE TAMING OF THE BILLIONAIRE –  In which a disabled sarcastic cat lady heroine is EVERYTHING. There’s some great stuff about her personality having nothing to do with her disability. (Per Tabs)
  6. Alyssa Cole, A PRINCESS IN THEORY – Ledi is both guarded and vulnerable in the best possible ways, and completely consistent with her history. (Per me)
  7. Jennifer Crusie, AGNES AND THE HITMAN – Agnes keeps hitting people with her cast iron pan (it’s hilarious). (Per Zoe Ashwood)
  8. Olivia Dade, DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION – She’s prickly and determined and sure of herself, and she’s not willing to compromise her most crucial values. (Per the author)
  9. Victoria Dahl, CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH – meet Grace “rage-nugget” Barrett. (Per me)
  10. Lauren Dane, DRAWN TOGETHER – She is prickly, bitchy and full of sharp edges and the hero loves her just as she is. (Per Ana Coqui)
  11. Six de los Reyes, FEELS LIKE SUMMER – Jett is sarcastic and commitment-phobic and can’t do relationships because she’s outwardly ~emotionally closed~ but she falls in love and she’s my favorite (Per Amanda)
  12. Mina V. Esquerra, BETTER AT WEDDINGS THAN YOU – So scarily competent and DGAF. (Per Geri)
  13. Mina V. Esguerra, LOVE YOUR FRENEMIES – Kimmy was the “evil girl” in My Imaginary Ex but she got her own book in Love Your Frenemies, where she remains her prickly self. (Per Chachic)
  14. Laura Florand, CHOCOLATE KISS – she’s really prickly (for good reason, too!) about Phillipe! (Per Kate Clayborn)
  15. Nicole Helm, NEED YOU NOW (Per Maisey Yates)
  16. Talia Hibbert, A GIRL LIKE HER –  Prickly autistic webcomic artist heroine, hot cinnamon roll hero (Per Alexa Rowan)
  17. Talia Hibbert, THE PRINCESS TRAP – She’s just not here for your BS and I LOVED it. (Per Jen)
  18. Julie James, JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE (Per Jenny)
  19. Laura Kaye, HARD TO LET GO (Per Alexis Daria)
  20. Julianna Keyes, IN HER DEFENSE (Per the author)
  21. Juliana Keyes, TIME SERVED – She’s an accomplished surgeon who comes across as cold and unemotional (to protect herself from getting attached to patients and due to a bad marriage) and meets a man who is the opposite (Both per Christine Maria Rose)
  22. Ruby Lang, PRACTICE PERFECT series (Per Kate Clayborn)
  23. Roni Lauren, BY THE HOUR – Elle’s the HBIC with a boatload of issues and i love her (Per Lisa, seconded by ally)
  24. Sarah Mayberry, THE OTHER SIDE OF US – oh, Mackenzie, you guarded, scarred treasure. (Per me)
  25. Tamara Morgan, CONFIDENCE TRICKS and THE REBOUND GIRL (Per Lillie)
  26. Courtney Milan, TRADE ME – Tina let’s Blake know she’s having none of his shit from the jump. (Per me)
  27. Molly O’Keefe, BETWEEN THE SHEETS
  28. Molly O’Keefe, BURN DOWN THE NIGHT –  one angry, prickly lady that needs to be your list.
  29. Molly O’Keefe, INDECENT PROPOSAL (All per Ellie Reads)
  30. Lucy Parker,  MAKING UP – Trix is guarded and prickly and all kinds of wonderful. Go forth and pre-order! (Per me)
  31. Tamsen Parker, PERSONAL GEOGRAPHY and ON THE BRINK OF PASSION (Per the author who also says her entry in the ROGUE DESIRES antho qualifies)
  32. Roan Parrish, SMALL CHANGE – She’s absolutely bloody furious throughout. (Per KJ CharlesZoe Ashwood, and KT Gilbert)
  33. Ainslie Paton, INSECURE – a big bank CEO candidate heroine (per the author)
  34. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, AIN’T SHE SWEET (Per Jezz de Silva)
  35. Alisha Rai, A GENTLEMAN IN THE STREET (Per Tamsen Parker)
  36. Alicia Rai, HATE TO WANT YOU (Per Liz Lincoln)
  37. Penny Reid, BEARD IN MIND – Some of it is due to her OCD, but I think she’d be prickly and a bit antisocial in any case. (Per Karen Kiely)
  38. Layla Rene, TEQUILA SUNRISE (Both per Cat Sebastian)
  39. Dorothy F. Shaw, DEFENSIVE HEART – Review quote: “Sonja is uptight, a work-a-haulic [sic], a single mother, and quite a few years older than James. She tends to shut down people and be very standoffish.” (Per the author)
  40. Maggie Wells, PLAY DATES – the heroine chooses a “non-traditional route” (Per the author)
  41. Maisey Yates, SMOOTH-TALKING COWBOY – I knew…I had to do some work to make her likeable because she just appeared so PRICKLY. So I had to figure out why. (Per the author)
  42. Mariana Zapata, FROM LUKOV WITH LOVE – It took me a while to get her. But I loved her in the end. Plus it’s about ice skating yey!

Historical

  1. Nita Abrams, THE SPY’S BRIDE – (Per July)
  2. Mary Balogh, SLIGHTLY SCANDALOUS (Per Maida Maltby)
  3. Kimberly Bell, A DANGEROUS DAMSEL – Dierdre…the smack-talking, man-robbing heroine. Difficult for sure, though Hannah, the heroine of the preceding book, isn’t exactly a shrinking violet either. (Per CL Polk)
  4. Joanna Bourne, THE BLACK HAWK (Per July)
  5. Kate Canterbary, THE SPIRE – She’s difficult and so scared and I adored her. (Per Kini, who says the entire Walsh series also qualifies)
  6. Loretta Chase, THE LION’S DAUGHTER (Per July)
  7. Alyssa Cole, AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION – Elle is too busy being a badass Union spy to have time for your nonsense. (Per me)
  8. Jenny Frame, COURTING THE COUNTESS (Per Jenny)
  9. Cecilia Grant, A GENTLEMAN UNDONE (Per Jenny)
  10. Cecilia Grant, A LADY AWAKENED – Martha “just nut and get it over with” Russel (per Kimberly Bell)
  11. Laura Lee Guhrke, SCANDAL OF THE YEAR – Julia is difficult prickly and I loved her so much (Per Lisa Lin)
  12. Jennifer Hallock, UNDER THE SUGAR SUN – People hated my heroine, Georgina Potter, when she got single-minded and driven (aka stubborn). (Per the author)
  13. Elizbeth Kingston, FAIR, BRIGHT AND TERRIBLE (Per Cat Sebastian)
  14. Laura Kinsale, FOR MY LADY’S HEART – prickly, mercurial, and so brave (Per Sarah Howes)
  15. Lisa Kleypas, IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN (Per Maida Maltby)
  16. Sarah MacLean, DAY OF THE DUCHESS (Per Mary Lynne Nielsen)
  17. Courtney Milan, THE COUNTESS CONSPIRACY (Per Katie M)
  18. Karen Ranney, THE LASS WORE BLACK (Per Elle Keck)
  19. Sherry Thomas, PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS (Per Maida Maltby)
  20. Maggie Wells, PLAY DATES – the heroine chooses a “non-traditional route” (Per the author)

Paranormal & Dystopia/Post Apoc/Fantasy & SF

  1. Ilona Andrews, BURN FOR ME – 1st in the Hidden Legacy series. So determined to make her own way, she only accepts help from the hero when she absolutely needs to. (Per Chachic)
  2. Ilona Andrews, CLEAN SWEEP, ON THE EDGE, BAYOU MOON, and FATE’S EDGE – I tend to consider their kind of interaction a different trope, anti-damsels. Hero wants to rescue and they aren’t here for that. (Per Ana Coqui)
  3. Suzanne Brockmann, BORN TO DARKNESS (Per Jezz de Silva)
  4. Lois McMaster Bujold, PALADIN OF SOULS – Ista is cranky and acerbic. Also smart and a great leader. (Per me)
  5. Kristen Callihan, WINTERBLAZE (Per Lillie)
  6. Kresley Cole, KISS OF THE DEMON KING – She’s prickly, vain, and a powerful sorceress. Hands down my fav heroine. (Per Ainsley Wynter)
  7. Megan Crane, EDGE OF CONTROL (Per Maisey Yates)
  8. Lauren Dane, GODDESS WITH A BLADE (Per Lillie)
  9. Molly Harper, THE ART OF SEDUCING A NAKED WEREWOLF – bites the hero in the ass when she’s a wolf. (Per Zoe Ashwood)
  10. Thea Harrison, SERPENT’S KISS & KINKED (Per Jezz de Silva)
  11. Heather Rose Jones, THE MYSTIC MARRIAGE – Histrom with alchemy, f/f, and you get two incredibly difficult heroines for the price of one! Antuniet is cold and obsessive, Jeanne is manipulative and shallow, and it’s *perfect*. 🙂 (Per KJ Charles)
  12. Shelly Laurenston, BITE ME – Vicious. Mean. Loves honey. Is sort of apologetic for hiding naked in your cupboards and falling asleep but not really. It’s comfy in there. (Per Tabs)
  13. Katherine McIntyre, FORGED ALLIANCES – Sierra, the wolf alpha in my shifter series. Relentlessly dominant. (Per the author)
  14. Kate Pearce, SOUL SUCKER (Per Lillie)
  15. Kit Rocha, BEYOND PAIN (Per Lillie)
  16. Nalini Singh, BRANDED BY FIRE -Mercy has to fight for Riley and others to see her as an equal. She can get pretty ‘prickly’. (Per KT Gilbert)
  17. JR Ward LOVER MINE & LOVER UNLEASHED (Per Jezz de Silva)
  18. Deborah Wilde, THE UNLIKEABLE DEMON HUNTER – Its right in the title! (Per Jocelyn Adler)

Romantic Suspense

  1. ML Buchman, TARGET ENGAGED (Per Jezz de Silva)
  2. Carolyn Crane, BEHIND THE MASK – She is tough and determined, taking not sh*t from anyone. Not sure difficult is the right word for her though. (Per Ellie Reads)
  3. Stephenie Meyer, THE CHEMIST (Per Jezz de Silva)
  4. Sharon McKenna, ULTIMATE WEAPON – Tamara is a former femme fatale assassin who makes jewelry as weapons. She’s prickly af. Love her. (Per Ainsley Wynter)
  5. J.D. Robb, NAKED IN DEATH – Eve Dallas is like the patron saint of difficult heroines. 40+ books and she’s still her glorious cranky self. (Per Tabs)
  6. Nora Roberts, CHASING FIRE (Per Jezz de Silva)
  7. L Setterby, BREATHE – a kinky romantic suspense with a sarcastic, prickly heroine. (Per Alexa Rowan)

Young Adult

  1. Kristin Cashore, GRACELING (Per Suzanne Krohn)
  2. Miranda Kenneally, THINGS I CAN’T FORGET and STEALING PARKER, Both heroines get slammed for very different reasons (one is too preachy, one too slutty). (Per Elizabeth Bright)
  3. E. Lockhart, THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS (Per Jen)
  4. Sandhya Menon, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI (Per me and Suzanne Krohn)
  5. Elizabeth Scott, HEARTBEAT and BLOOM (Per Elizabeth Bright)
  6. Nicola Yoon, THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR – The heroine doesn’t believe in love (she prefers science) and is so great. I cheered for her so hard. (Per Suzanne Krohn)

A Home for “Difficult” Heroines

NB: If the list below gives you hives because it has absolutely no organizing principles, I have also posted it by subgenre.

A couple of days ago, I tweeted a thread that began here:

It led me to further discussions and the reminder that while a lot of readers want their romance heroines to be “nice” all the time, there is a pocket of us (sometimes known among ourselves as “Hag Corner”) who really appreciate a prickly, “difficult,” abrasive heroine. Someone who will stand up for herself, or screw up, or get angry. Or all of the above.

So, because I wanted my mentions to be a complete mess, I asked for romance recommendations where the heroine is this type of woman. And oh, man, did I get them. So with joy and glee I present it to you, complete with buy links in case you too like a woman who doesn’t default to “nice.” Oh, and I’m including recommenders’ twitter links, too, in case you also want to follow some like-minded people.

I started with some of my favorites:

  1. Victoria Dahl, CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH – meet Grace “rage-nugget” Barrett.
  2. Sarah Mayberry, THE OTHER SIDE OF US – oh, Mackenzie, you guarded, scarred treasure.
  3. Courtney Milan, TRADE ME – Tina let’s Blake know she’s having none of his shit from the jump.
  4. Alyssa Cole, AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION – Elle is too busy being a badass Union spy to have time for your nonsense.

And now for…THE REST OF THE LIST:

  1. Roan Parrish, SMALL CHANGE – She’s absolutely bloody furious throughout. (Per KJ Charles, Zoe Ashwood, and KT Gilbert)
  2. Jennifer Crusie, AGNES AND THE HITMAN – Agnes keeps hitting people with her cast iron pan (it’s hilarious). (Per Zoe Ashwood)
  3. Lauren Dane, DRAWN TOGETHER – She is prickly, bitchy and full of sharp edges and the hero loves her just as she is. (Per Ana Coqui)
  4. Kate Canterbary, THE SPIRE – She’s difficult and so scared and I adored her. (Per Kini, who says the entire Walsh series also qualifies)
  5. Ruby Lang, PRACTICE PERFECT series
  6. Laura Florand, CHOCOLATE KISS – she’s really prickly (for good reason, too!) about Phillipe! (Both per Kate Clayborn)
  7. Alicia Rai, HATE TO WANT YOU
  8. Eliza Madison, INK OR TREAT (Both per Liz Lincoln)
  9. Molly Harper, THE ART OF SEDUCING A NAKED WEREWOLF – bites the hero in the ass when she’s a wolf. (Per Zoe Ashwood)
  10. Ainslie Paton, INSECURE – a big bank CEO candidate heroine (per the author)
  11. Mina V. Esguerra, LOVE YOUR FRENEMIES – Kimmy was the “evil girl” in My Imaginary Ex but she got her own book in Love Your Frenemies, where she remains her prickly self. (Per Chachic)
  12. Roni Lauren, BY THE HOUR – Elle’s the HBIC with a boatload of issues and i love her (Per Lisa, seconded by ally)
  13. Kresley Cole, KISS OF THE DEMON KING – She’s prickly, vain, and a powerful sorceress. Hands down my fav heroine. (Per Ainsley Wynter)
  14. Alisha Rai, A GENTLEMAN IN THE STREET
  15. Amy Jo Cousins, GIRL NEXT DOOR (Both per Tamsen Parker)
  16. Tamsen Parker, PERSONAL GEOGRAPHY and ON THE BRINK OF PASSION (Per the author who also says her entry in the ROGUE DESIRES antho qualifies)
  17. Sarah MacLean, DAY OF THE DUCHESS (Per Mary Lynne Nielsen)
  18. Talia Hibbert, THE PRINCESS TRAP – She’s just not here for your BS and I LOVED it. (Per Jen)
  19. Jenny Frame, COURTING THE COUNTESS
  20. Cecilia Grant, A GENTLEMAN UNDONE
  21. Julie James, JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE (All per Jenny)
  22. Laura Kinsale, FOR MY LADY’S HEART – prickly, mercurial, and so brave (Per Sarah Howes)
  23. Elizbeth Kingston, FAIR, BRIGHT AND TERRIBLE
  24. Layla Rene, TEQUILA SUNRISE (Both per Cat Sebastian)
  25. L Setterby, BREATHE – a kinky romantic suspense with a sarcastic, prickly heroine. (Per Alexa Rowan)
  26. Penny Reid, BEARD IN MIND – Some of it is due to her OCD, but I think she’d be prickly and a bit antisocial in any case. (Per Karen Kiely)
  27. Mina V. Esquerra, BETTER AT WEDDINGS THAN YOU – So scarily competent and DGAF. (Per Geri)
  28. Joanna Bourne, THE BLACK HAWK
  29. Loretta Chase, THE LION’S DAUGHTER
  30. Nita Abrams, THE SPY’S BRIDE – (All per July)
  31. Mariana Zapata, FROM LUKOV WITH LOVE – It took me a while to get her. But I loved her in the end. Plus it’s about ice skating yey!
  32. Nalini Singh, BRANDED BY FIRE -Mercy has to fight for Riley and others to see her as an equal. She can get pretty ‘prickly’.
  33. Jewel E Ann, JACK & JILL series, (all per KT Gilbert)
  34. Cecilia Grant, A LADY AWAKENED – Martha “just nut and get it over with” Russel (per Kimberly Bell)
  35. Kimberly Bell, A DANGEROUS DAMSEL – Dierdre…the smack-talking, man-robbing heroine. Difficult for sure, though Hannah, the heroine of the preceding book, isn’t exactly a shrinking violet either. (Per CL Polk)
  36. Kit Rocha, BEYOND PAIN
  37. Kate Pearce, SOUL SUCKER
  38. Tamara Morgan, CONFIDENCE TRICKS and THE REBOUND GIRL
  39. Kristen Callihan, WINTERBLAZE
  40. Lauren Dane, GODDESS WITH A BLADE (All per Lillie)
  41. Laura Kaye, HARD TO LET GO (Per Alexis Daria)
  42. Dorothy F. Shaw, DEFENSIVE HEART – Review quote: “Sonja is uptight, a work-a-haulic [sic], a single mother, and quite a few years older than James. She tends to shut down people and be very standoffish.” (Per the author)
  43. Julianna Keyes, IN HER DEFENSE (Per the author)
  44. Courtney Milan, THE COUNTESS CONSPIRACY (Per Katie M)
  45. Lexxie Callahan, THE FALL OF THE RED QUEEN – She is the villainess in books 1 and 2 of the series and gets redeemed here ( with a hero who is willing to look below the surface)
  46. Juliana Keyes, TIME SERVED – She’s an accomplished surgeon who comes across as cold and unemotional (to protect herself from getting attached to patients and due to a bad marriage) and meets a man who is the opposite (Both per Christine Maria Rose)
  47. Jennifer Hallock, UNDER THE SUGAR SUN – People hated my heroine of Under the Sugar Sun, Georgina Potter, when she got single-minded and driven (aka stubborn). (Per the author)
  48. Sandra Antonelli, DRIVING IN NEUTRAL – I wrote a heroine who did a not very nice thing when she was angry. She regretted doing it: made apology, but I still got flack for writing her that way–even though her rection was utterly human. I like unlikable, imperfectly mannered heroines. (Per the author)
  49. Katherine McIntyre, FORGED ALLIANCES – Sierra, the wolf alpha in my shifter series. Relentlessly dominant. (Per the author)
  50. Molly O’Keefe, BURN DOWN THE NIGHT –  one angry, prickly lady that needs to be your list.
  51. Molly O’Keefe, BETWEEN THE SHEETS
  52. Molly O’Keefe, INDECENT PROPOSAL (All per Ellie Reads)
  53. Karen Ranney, THE LASS WORE BLACK (Per Elle Keck)
  54. Kristin Cashore, GRACELING (Per Suzanne Krohn)
  55. Sandhya Menon, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI (Per me and Suzanne Krohn)
  56. Nicola Yoon, THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR – The heroine doesn’t believe in love (she prefers science) and is so great. I cheered for her so hard. (Per Suzanne Krohn)
  57. Miranda Kenneally, THINGS I CAN’T FORGET and STEALING PARKER, Both heroines get slammed for very different reasons (one is too preachy, one too slutty). (Per Elizabeth Bright)
  58. Elizabeth Scott, HEARTBEAT and BLOOM (Per Elizabeth Bright)
  59. E. Lockhart, THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS (Per Jen)
  60. Maggie Wells, PLAY DATES – the heroine chooses a “non-traditional route” (Per the author)
  61. Laura Lee Guhrke, SCANDAL OF THE YEAR – Julia is difficult prickly and I loved her so much (Per Lisa Lin)
  62. Heather Rose Jones, THE MYSTIC MARRIAGE – Histrom with alchemy, f/f, and you get two incredibly difficult heroines for the price of one! Antuniet is cold and obsessive, Jeanne is manipulative and shallow, and it’s *perfect*. 🙂 (Per KJ Charles)
  63. Ilona Andrews, BURN FOR ME – 1st in the Hidden Legacy series. So determined to make her own way, she only accepts help from the hero when she absolutely needs to. (Per Chachic)
  64. Ilona Andrews, CLEAN SWEEP, ON THE EDGE, BAYOU MOON, and FATE’S EDGE – I tend to consider their kind of interaction a different trope, anti-damsels. Hero wants to rescue and they aren’t here for that. (Per Ana Coqui)
  65. Carolyn Crane, BEHIND THE MASK – She is tough and determined, taking not sh*t from anyone. Not sure difficult is the right word for her though. (Per Ellie Reads)
  66. J.D. Robb, NAKED IN DEATH – Eve Dallas is like the patron saint of difficult heroines. 40+ books and she’s still her glorious cranky self. (Per Tabs)
  67. Jessica Clare, THE TAMING OF THE BILLIONAIRE –  In which a disabled sarcastic cat lady heroine is EVERYTHING. There’s some great stuff about her personality having nothing to do with her disability. (Per Tabs)
  68. Shelly Laurenston, BITE ME – Vicious. Mean. Loves honey. Is sort of apologetic for hiding naked in your cupboards and falling asleep but not really. It’s comfy in there. (Per Tabs)
  69. Olivia Dade, DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION – She’s prickly and determined and sure of herself, and she’s not willing to compromise her most crucial values. (Per the author)
  70. Deborah Wilde, THE UNLIKEABLE DEMON HUNTER – Its right in the title! (Per Jocelyn Adler)
  71. Andie J. Christopher, DUSK UNTIL DAWN and BEFORE DAYLIGHT – Maya from Dusk Until Dawn threatens to light the hero on fire in scene one. And Laura in Before Daylight is super mean. It’s not a coincidence that they’re my favorites. (Per the author)
  72. Mary Balogh, SLIGHTLY SCANDALOUS (Per Maida Maltby)
  73. Sherry Thomas, PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS (Per Maida Maltby)
  74. Lisa Kleypas, IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN (Per Maida Maltby)
  75. Stephenie Meyer, THE CHEMIST (Per Jezz de Silva)
  76. Nora Roberts, CHASING FIRE (Per Jezz de Silva)
  77. ML Buchman, TARGET ENGAGED (Per Jezz de Silva)
  78. JR Ward LOVER MINE & LOVER UNLEASHED (Per Jezz de Silva)
  79. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, AIN’T SHE SWEET (Per Jezz de Silva)
  80. Thea Harrison, SERPENT’S KISS & KINKED (Per Jezz de Silva)
  81. Suzanne Brockmann, BORN TO DARKNESS (Per Jezz de Silva)
  82. Sharon McKenna, ULTIMATE WEAPON – Tamara is a former femme fatale assassin who makes jewelry as weapons. She’s prickly af. Love her. (Per Ainsley Wynter)
  83. Lois McMaster Bujold, PALADIN OF SOULS – Ista is cranky and acerbic. Also smart and a great leader. (Per me)
  84. Maisey Yates, SMOOTH-TALKING COWBOY – I knew…I had to do some work to make her likeable because she just appeared so PRICKLY. So I had to figure out why. (Per the author)
  85. Nicole Helm, NEED YOU NOW
  86. Megan Crane, EDGE OF CONTROL (Both per Maisey Yates)
  87. Six de los Reyes, FEELS LIKE SUMMER – Jett is sarcastic and commitment-phobic and can’t do relationships because she’s outwardly ~emotionally closed~ but she falls in love and she’s my favorite (Per Amanda)
  88. Talia Hibbert, A GIRL LIKE HER –  Prickly autistic webcomic artist heroine, hot cinnamon roll hero (Per Alexa Rowan)
  89. Alyssa Cole, A PRINCESS IN THEORY – Ledi is both guarded and vulnerable in the best possible ways, and completely consistent with her history. (Per me)

And as a bonus recommendation, I’ve read an ARC and can highly recommend Lucy Parker’s MAKING UP – Trix is guarded and prickly and all kinds of wonderful. Go forth and pre-order!

If you want to recommend more, please do so either in the comments or on Twitter!

ETA: Also, lordy. This is getting long. A more organized list coming later today (2/20/2018)!

It’s here, it’s here! Mary Ann Marlowe’s A Crazy Kind of Love

…and I’ve had a chance to read it. It’s a great read, and anyone who loves rock-star romances should get their sticky fingers on it NOW.

Release Date November 28, 2017

 

Synopsis

In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman’s up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying—and delicious—dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That’s a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he’s seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he’s also Micah Sinclair—one of rock’s notorious bad boys…

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she’s suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician’s mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he’s a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah’s feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can’t resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media’s latest victim . . .

“The perfect romantic comedy.” —RT Book Reviews

“Another sizzling, glitterati-filled story.” Booklist Online

“If you like wonderfully written, light, fast paced, swoon worthy moments, and chemistry so strong it jumps off the page, then this is the book for you.” Wit & Wonder Books

 

Available November 28, 2017 from Kensington. Pre-Order at all digital retailers:

Amazon | BN | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads | BAM! | Audible

a Rafflecopter giveaway

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c766fbcd3/?

Author Bio:

Mary Ann lives in central Virginia where she works as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel.

Connect with Mary Ann

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Newsletter Signup

Mary Ann Marlowe’s “A Crazy Kind of Love” out November 28!

I’m thrilled to announce my “agency sister” Mary Ann Marlowe’s second book comes out this month! I can’t wait to get my hands on it…

Release Date November 28, 2017

Synopsis

In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman’s up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying—and delicious—dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That’s a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he’s seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he’s also Micah Sinclair—one of rock’s notorious bad boys…

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she’s suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician’s mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he’s a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah’s feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can’t resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media’s latest victim . . .

Praise for Mary Ann Marlowe’s Some Kind of Magic

“Marlowe makes a name for herself in this hilarious and sexy debut.”
Booklist

“Frisky, Flirty Fun!”
–Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times bestselling author of The Total Package

 

Available November 28, 2017 from Kensington. Pre-Order at all digital retailers:

Amazon | BN | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads | BAM!

 

Excerpt

More people rolled in, either on foot or via personal motorcade. The feeding frenzy intensified as the level of fame increased. Some celebrities disappeared as quickly as possible. Others walked the runway, stopping to give the photographers ample time to capture them, only answering questions about whichever project they wanted to publicize.

By the time Micah Sinclair emerged from a black sedan, tall and confident, voices had reached fever pitch.

Micah, over here!

As his car drove away, Micah stood a moment to take in the scene. Rather than escape the fishbowl or pose for publicity shots, he shook hands with one of the reporters and chatted for a few seconds before he came my way. He tilted his head back, and his face lit up.

“Wally!” He crossed over, hand outstretched. “Haven’t seen you around in a while. I hope everything’s good at home.”

Wally actually put his camera down to shake Micah’s hand. I glanced around. Nobody was taking pictures. Was there something inherently un-newsworthy about a guy talking to the media? I lifted my camera and started shooting. The whirr of my camera caught Micah’s attention, and he turned away from Wally with a wide-eyed look of recognition.

He put his hand up against the flash and peered around his fingers. “Jo-Josie from Georgia! I didn’t expect to see you again so soon.”

Since he was facing me, I kept snapping pictures. Knowing that Andy would want me to at least get a comment if I could, I blurted out, “Hey, Micah. Are you here alone tonight?”

I knew I should have asked him something more specific, but he was smiling that cocky-bratty grin, and it was messing with my killer instinct. If I had a killer instinct.

“I am. Or at least I came here alone.” The cameras around us began to flash, but Micah kept his cool, eyes on me, as if we were still standing on the sidewalk in Park Slope, all alone. His lip curled up on one side, like he was gearing up for a challenge. “How’d you like to be my date?”

Now I dropped my camera, and it slammed into my gut. Oof. Damn if Andy hadn’t called it. I still couldn’t process the invitation. “Sorry, what?”

He gestured with his head toward the steps. “Come on. You’ll get better pictures inside.”

I threw a glance at Wally who looked as envious as Charlie Bucket when the last golden ticket was found. He nodded me forward. Now that fantasy had turned into reality, I realized I wasn’t remotely prepared to rub elbows with the same people I needed to exploit. “Sure. But are you sure it’s okay? Nobody will mind?”

“Eden will, but I owe you one. And besides I have an in with the guy throwing the party.” He offered me his elbow. “Come on. Don’t be shy. You might get that Pulitzer prize shot.”

I gathered my gear together. Micah stopped and looked down at me while I threw my camera bag and backpack over my shoulder and straightened up. At my full height, he only had a couple of inches on me. I put my hand around his proffered bicep, completely aware of the feel of his skin on my fingertips. He turned his blue eyes on me, and I forgot how to breathe.

The smile dropped from his face for a second, and he asked, “Everything okay?”

I sucked in a lungful of air and laughed off my nerves. “Entering enemy territory for the first time.”

His confident, charming smile returned, and he led me up the steps into the brownstone—my own personal Trojan horse.

Micah nodded at the burly man inside the door as we passed. “This is Jo. She’s with me.”

The bouncer shot me a look of grudging respect. “Good luck.”

As Micah pulled me along, I looked back, unsure what the bouncer meant by that, but he’d already turned his attention away, so I faced forward, glancing around wildly for any A-list celebrities.

And it hit me for real. I was on the inside.

Author Bio:

maryannmarlowe

Mary Ann lives in central Virginia where she works as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel.

Connect with Mary Ann

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Newsletter Signup

Virtual Book Tour – Kelly Siskind’s LEGS

The first book in my friend Kelly Siskind’s new series is out. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an Advance Reviewer’s Copy and it is seriously sexy, funny fun.

If this sounds like your catnip (um, yes. Wine? Please. A sexy enemies-to-lovers type vibe with great banter? All the yes.)  you can buy immediately and enter for a chance to win a $15 gift card.

Running into your one-night stand is a special kind of awkward. Competing against him in a wine tasting contest is delicious torment…

On Rachel’s twenty-seventh birthday, she wishes to finally find a rewarding job. What she doesn’t wish is to drink a boatload of wine, sleep with a tattooed bad boy, and drunk email her boss in one glorious, career-ending move. But the fiasco pushes her to pursue a career inspired by her late father’s love of wine: sommelier.

Unfortunately, she’s competing against her infuriating one-night stand, a man as intoxicating as a Pinot Noir.

Two years ago, Jimmy was set to inherit his family winery. Then it got ripped from his grasp. To close that dark chapter of his life, he plans to win a local sommelier contest and use the press to expose his family’s tainted wines.

Jimmy loves studying the streaks of alcohol that cling to a wineglass, known as the wine’s “legs,” but other shapely legs are stealing his focus. Tantalizing legs. Legs that had wrapped around his waist for one wild night. Jimmy, sadly, has a weakness for legs.

He also hates to lose.

iBooks: http://hyperurl.co/LEGSiBooks
Kobo: http://hyperurl.co/LEGSkobo
Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/LEGSamazon
B&N: http://hyperurl.co/LEGSBandN

OR this:

Universal Book Link: http://Books2read.com/u/mdNWN5

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