Books I Got at BEA '12: Romance Edition

This is the first in a series of posts on the books I picked up while I was at Book Expo America in NYC.

The Eloisa James signing was the first (long) line I entered at BEA. Authors were signing either in the Autographing Area, where they sit at tables at the end of long chutes, or at their publisher’s booth on the show floor. James was in the Autographing Area. I had met her at an academic conference in November, and realized I had never read one of her books. She either remembered me or did a good job faking it, which my ego enjoyed. In romance, I love ugly duckling (supposedly unattractive heroine) or beast (supposedly unattractive hero) stories.


How can she dare to imagine he loves her…when all London calls her The Ugly Duchess?

Theodora Saxby is the last woman anyone expects the gorgeous James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, to marry. But after a romantic proposal before the prince himself, even practical Theo finds herself convinced of her soon-to-be duke’s passion.

Still, the tabloids give the marriage six months.

Theo would have given it a lifetime…until she discovers that James desired not her heart, and certainly not her countenance, but her dowry. Society was shocked by their wedding; it’s scandalized by their separation.

Now James faces the battle of his lifetime, convincing Theo that he loved the duckling who blossomed into the swan.

And Theo will quickly find that for a man with the soul of a pirate, All’s Fair in Love—or War.

The Ugly Duchess is the fourth book in James’ Fairy Tale series. To be published August 28, 2012. Click here to preorder.

This is the fourth book in Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor Series. Shalvis did an in-booth signing at the RWA (Romance Writers of America) booth, which was tiny, but managed to have a giant poster that made it look like a YA publisher. (What’s the difference? Maybe the hair adornment?)

I’ve really enjoyed Shalvis’s contemporary romances and she’s the only author who has used one of my review quotes in her printed book. She was super friendly, saying, “Now I have a face to put with the name.” She gave me an extra copy, which I’ll give away when I review the book next week.


Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she’s expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she’d like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he’s only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he’s gone…

For the first time in his life, Ty can’t bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn?t?including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all…anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.

Published May 22, 2012. Read an excerpt and purchase here.

Navy Rules is Krotow’s fourth book for Harlequin. She was also at the RWA booth when I met her. I told her I love Superromance and she replied, “I wish my editor was here to hear you say that!” I was attracted to the idea of a series revolving around a Navy family. Krotow was a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman, then a Naval Officer, and now a Navy wife. Here’s the blurb:

Wounded during a military rescue, Commander Max Ford returns to a naval base on Whidbey Island to recover. And part of his treatment involves working with a therapy dog. Max is surprised to learn that the dog’s owner is Winnie Armstrong, widow of his closest friend. She and Max were close in those months following her husband’s death. But they drifted apart, until that one night two years ago. The night friendship turned to passion… Now he’s even more shocked to learn that Winnie has been keeping a secret from him. A baby girl. His daughter. It’s even more important he heal so he can be a part of his child’s life—and Winnie’s. Because all the attraction that pulled them together that one night is still there… only stronger.


I didn’t realize until I got home that that Navy Rules also involved my Least Favorite Trope: The Secret Baby. Maybe Krotow can do something with it that makes me not want to tear the book in half with my teeth.

Published June 5, 2012. Order and read an excerpt of here.

My last romance stop was accidental: I was getting a drink at a concession stand and turned around and practically bumped into an author form Dreamspinner Press. I had a terrific chat with the two women there (Mary Calmes and an author/editor whose name escapes me.). I was surprised to hear DSP is going to be publishing a range of YA, especially GLBT, under a different name, but then, BEA was so saturated with YA, nothing surprised me by that point.

Two books were handed to me:

That’s a pretty decent cover, especially when compared to some other DSP offerings, like this one. Here is the blurb:

Forty-five-year-old English professor Nathan Qells is very good at making people feel important. What he’s not very good at is sticking around afterward. He’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t feel things the way other people do. So even after all the time he’s spent taking care of Michael, the kid across the hall, he doesn’t realize that Michael’s mob muscle uncle and guardian, Andreo Fiore, has slowly been falling in love with him.

Dreo has bigger problems than getting Nate to see him as a potential partner. He’s raising his nephew, trying to leave his unsavory job, and starting his own business, a process made infinitely more difficult when a series of hits takes out some key underworld players. Still, Dreo is determined to build a life he can be proud of—a life with Nate as a cornerstone. A life that is starting to look like exactly what Nate has been seeking. Unfortunately for Dreo—and for Nate—the last hits were just part of a major reorganization, and Dreo’s obvious love for Nate has made him a target too.

Acrobat is out now. Click here for an excerpt and purchase links.

An Unsettled Range is the third book in the Stories From the Range series. Here’s the blurb:

The last thing Liam Southard expects when he flees his abusive father is to be taken in by a couple of gay ranchers. Soon he has a new job and a new perspective on his sexuality, and his life starts to turn around. Then someone pulls a gun on him.

In Troy Gardener’s defense, the gun thing was a mistake. Between his marriage falling apart and living in his uncle’s isolated hunting cabin, he’s been a little edgy. He wants to make it up to Liam, and once he discovers how much they have in common, he wants even more. But with Liam’s father popping in unexpectedly and a mining company threatening the ranch’s water supply, the only guarantee is that life is never going to be boring.

Click here to read an excerpt and purchase.

I did not pick up any books at the Harlequin booth, which was massive, but always a mob scene. Harlequin tended to have group signings, which meant very long lines as fans of up to five authors waited all together in one line for five books. Harlequin insisted that readers take books from each author, rather than allowing them to choose their favorite. Every single person I spoke to (many of them YA fans) HATED this.

My guess is that Harlequin was trying to use more popular authors to introduce readers to less popular authors. My feeling is that it backfired and generated a lot of ill will.

As others have noted, there was virtually no Carina Press presence at BEA. Two people reported getting the brush off when they tried to ask Harlequin reps about Carina.

As far as I could tell, and at least one blogger corroborated this, Romance was not featured at BEA by any of the larger presses who publish it.

I’m very sorry I missed the Entangled booth. But Jane Litte of Dear Author has a report on them.

7 responses

  1. I hope that you have a chance to review the James’ book after you have read it. I have only read one book in this serious. The characters seem too modern for it to be historical fiction.


  2. Excellent haul!

    I only found one romance novel that I was interested in – a Sarah Mayberry. JUST because literally everyone I’ve met in the romance community has talked about how awesome she is, so how could I resist?

    And secret babies stories. They just don’t work in contemporary times, do they? Could be worse, however. In my first BEA swag read, which was literary fiction, there were TWO secret babies – one of whom accidentally has sex with her dad. Um, NO. No no no … (I’m seriously wondering how I’m going to write that review).

    I did notice a lot of YA. That made me happy because I was looking for YA, but I can understand how that would frustrate the BEA goers who were not interested in that genre.


  3. Did you meet Damon Suede at DSP? He was signing his hot fireman book. I spent an hour at DSP. Loved that booth!

    As for the 3 Harlequin rep’s response to me about Carina Press, just wait until my blog post. The way I was treated really put a bad taste in my mouth.


  4. @Vi Dao: Eloisa James is rather an oddity. She prides herself on doing historical research (she’d talked her publisher into letting her correct some mistakes of her debut novel, originally published in hardback, for the paperback edition) and yet anachronisms and modern voice crop up in every book she’s written. She’s occasionally insisted those are there for a reason, e.g. only scholars can recognise and understand the purpose. I’m still not sure whether she was joking or not. I hope she was. 😀


  5. Harlequin did that before (one line everyone has to get every book), but I thought the last time I went they had separate lines for the 5 or so authors, but then people complained they had to get back and stand in line again to get to the next author. I just think they should not do group signings. Since Deanna Raybourn wasn’t signing there this year I decided to skip Harlequin altogether because I always have a terrible time in their lines.

    And also: yes, BEA always (well in the past 4 years) has a lot of YA and not so much Romance and other genre fiction (like SFF, which is what I want). Maybe because there’s no real big YA book convention while there is one for Romance and SFF? I don’t know. I wish there was more SFF.

    Really love the cover of ACROBAT.

    I also want to see the review for the secret baby incest book! Yikes.


  6. @KT Grant: just read it. You are writing wonderfully detailed reports of BEA!

    @Maili: I’m really looking forward to reading this one now. What an odd juxtaposition.

    @janicu: Re: HQN: Hmm. I guess you can’t please everyone.

    I like the Acrobat cover a lot… it reminds me of the famous Maine artist Andrew Wyeth, although he’s probably spinning in his grave at that.



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