Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Miranda Owen | Fierce, Fabulous Heroines
Author Guest / April 6, 2020

Heroines in romance novels: let’s discuss. A frequent topic among romance readers and authors involves heroines and the unequal way they can be viewed. There are two bones of contention to pick. The first is that a heroine’s life choices are viewed with a more critical and unforgiving eye than a hero’s choices. Secondly, that a heroine’s flaws and personality quirks are viewed more harshly than those of a hero. I believe that both things are very real, but I will only admit to unconsciously doing the latter. If a character – whether male or female – makes life choices that I disagree with, as long as the character is fleshed out and well-written, I won’t judge and I’m still able to enjoy the story. However, if there are aspects of a character’s personality that rub me the wrong way, it’s difficult for me to put that aside and focus on where the author is taking me. As a woman, I often identify more with a female protagonist, and therefore have caught myself being overly critical of that character. This is something I’ve picked up on and tried to snap myself out of doing. Every reader has their pet peeve…

Miranda Owen | Fresh Fiction Reviewer Top Reads of 2019
Author Guest / December 20, 2019

Our reviewer retrospective continues with Miranda Owen‘s favorite books of this year!  I love making lists. At the end of a year, friends and fellow readers will post about their top favorite five or ten books of the year. I’m not configured that way. Trying to pick only five or ten favorite books out of the hundred or so I’ve read over the course of a year is unfathomable to me. Instead, I’ve picked about five or so titles in four different categories. Many of these selections fit a few of different categories listed here. I mostly read and review romances, but cozy mysteries are my jam too. Christmas-themed Romance Picks THE MATCHMAKER’S MISTLETOE MISSION by Jaci Burton A COWBOY UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Jessica Clare ONE HOT HOLIDAY by Cynthia Eden MEET ME UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Stacey Kennedy ONE CHRISTMAS EVE by Shannon Stacey There was a ridiculous amount of amazing Christmas-themed romances that came out this year, many of which came out at the end of October. The ones I’m discussing were my absolute favorites, but there were a bunch more that put a smile on my face. THE MATCHMAKER’S MISTLETOE MISSION by Jaci Burton and A…

Miranda Owen | Bewitched by a Beautiful Stranger
Author Guest / August 30, 2019

by Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen Haven’t we met? Some kind of beautiful stranger You could be good for me I’ve had the taste for danger If I’m smart then I’ll run away But I’m not so I guess I’ll stay Haven’t you heard? I fell in love with a beautiful stranger –Beautiful Stranger, Madonna Two of my favorite romance authors are Mary Balogh and Jennifer Ashley. Both authors write well-crafted character-driven stories that capture the imagination. Both authors also write about extremely close yet also extremely complicated families. Two of my all-time favorite books are both by these authors and are both about characters who meet under unusual circumstances, but who find something compelling and experience an unexplainable initial attraction. I’ve always maintained that AT LAST COMES LOVE by Mary Balogh has one of the best introduction scenes and “getting to know you” dialogue I’ve ever read. The scandalous Duncan Pennethorne, the Earl of Sheringford and beautiful yet very respectable Margaret Huxtable collide at a time when they each have something the other desires. Duncan is looking for a well-connected wealthy wife to satisfy his grandfather and secure his inheritance and, and that particular moment, Margaret needs a fake beau…

Miranda Owen | A Killer POV
Author Guest / July 8, 2019

You can read more about Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen and her reviews here! “But sometimes, the things you wanted most were the things that would destroy you.” Cynthia Eden, BOUND IN SIN In general, I’m a cozy mystery kind of a girl. I don’t usually go for movies or books that promise “high suspense.” That’s usually a turn-off for me. If a book has dog tags or a pistol on the cover the odds are that it’s probably not for me. Likewise, a film trailer or poster with some intense music or describing how the hero/heroine has a limited amount of time to defuse a bomb, rescue so-and-so, or recover the lost jewel of blah blah blah does nothing for me. I like scary movies, but usually with the violence that is cheesy and obviously fake rather than what I think of as “torture porn” – gratuitous torture scenes that don’t further the story or have us learn anything new about the baddies and generally just stick in my head like some toxic sludge that resurfaces even years later. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. I do read some mysteries and some romances with a few…

Miranda Owen | Some Like it HOT: Erotic Moments in Romance
Author Guest / May 17, 2019

“To bask in passion’s glow. To bathe in love’s fountain. To swim in the rivers of Eros.” “It sounds quite vile. No thank you.” It was very difficult not to laugh. She managed it, just. MUCH ADO ABOUT DUTTON by Claudia Dain The other day one of the authors in one of the many online reading groups I’m in posted a question asking readers how many love scenes they demanded in a romance. I get why authors ask this, but I feel like it’s a difficult thing for readers to answer. I know there has been a lot of debate and general discussion about how many love scenes/sex scenes put in romances, and over how the quantity and quality of love scenes in a book should be advertised to readers. I remember reading a few years ago that a favorite romance author of mine felt pressured by her publisher to include a specific number of sex scenes in her book. I felt that was unfair; not just because I think that she should be allowed complete freedom in her creative process, but also because those scenes weren’t what I found most enjoyable about her books. In the end, I took…

Miranda Owen | Celebrate the Season with Festive Romance Reads!
Author Guest / December 21, 2018

A warm holiday welcome to Fresh Fiction Reviewer, Miranda Owen, who is here to discuss some of her favorite holiday-themed romances! If this post doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, we don’t know what will. Without further ado… I love a fun holiday-themed romance. Admittedly, my favorite holiday-themed romances involve Halloween, but I enjoy Christmas ones too. Some of my favorite books by Carolyn Brown and Terry Spear are centered on Christmas and family. The Christmas romances I’ve read this year – by old favorites and new-to-me authors – have had dual themes of “family” and “Christmas” with delightful results. The one story featured here that’s not set during Christmas is a paranormal romance by Cynthia Eden that opens with a catastrophic blind date on New Year’s Eve, but that story also has a lot to do with family. In SOMEONE TO TRUST by Mary Balogh and THE CHRISTMAS KEY by Lori Wilde, the heroes are both drawn to women with big hearts and loving families. SOMEONE TO TRUST opens with an idyllic Christmas house party with the Westcott family and their assorted friends and relations. Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges can’t help but be charmed by these people because…

Shape-Shifters I love
ParaNormal Bites / May 17, 2018

As I’m about to read SERPENTINE – the latest book in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series – and dive into a world of vampires, hunters, and wereleopards, it got me thinking about my love of romances featuring animal shifters. I enjoy a good vampire story, but in the age-old debate over blood suckers vs furry warriors – I’m Team Werewolf. I love werewolves, werebears, werehoney badgers, and everything in between. And how amazing are heroes who also happen to turn into dragons? Recently I’ve read a bunch of fabulous new releases with shape shifters of all sorts as main characters – MIDNIGHT WOLF by Jennifer Ashley, HOT AND BADGERED by Shelly Laurenston, ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WOLF by Terry Spear, WICKED AND WILD by Cynthia Eden, and the anthology THE BIG ALPHA IN TOWN with stories by Eve Langais, Millie Taiden, and Kate Baxter. MIDNIGHT WOLF by Jennifer Ashley Shifters Unbound #11 Angus Murray, bouncer for a New Orleans Shifter bar, is sent to round up an elusive, Collar-less Shifter woman, Tamsin Calloway, who is causing trouble for Shifter Bureau, and possesses information they want. If Angus refuses, he risks losing his cub. He finds Tamsin but she’s…

Cynthia Eden | Love and Danger
Author Guest / January 22, 2011

Hi, everyone! It’s great to be blogging at Fresh Fiction today. I have a secret to confess.  I have a dark side. Very dark.  When folks look at me, I’ve often been told I look (at least) semi-sweet and fairly innocent.  Ha. Such a lie. Maybe it’s the soccer mom persona that fools them. When I’m alone and I’m writing, that sweet act vanishes.  Instead, I let the darkness out.  That darkness really came out when I wrote my “Deadly” romantic suspense series for Grand Central Publishing. In those books, I jumped right into the minds of serial killers. My husband worried that I was a bit too comfortable writing from the killer’s perspective. Actually, I still think he worries that—I’ve seen the suspicious glances that he gives to me. However, it’s not just my villains who have such a lethal edge. Instead, my heroes and heroines often have some rather lethal characteristics, too.  In DEADLY HEAT, my heroine is a fire fighter. Lora can’t be afraid of death—she faces it every day.  But when her lover is killed in a blaze, the desire for vengeance consumes her, and it’s that lust for revenge that creates the shadows that surround…

Fresh Pick | DEADLY FEAR by Cynthia Eden
Fresh Pick / September 8, 2010

Deadly #1 August 2010 On Sale: August 1, 2010 384 pages ISBN: 0446559245 EAN: 9780446559249 Mass Market Paperback $6.99 Add to Wish List Romance Suspense Buy at Amazon.com Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden TWO BRILLIANT AGENTS FBI Special Agent Monica Davenport has made a career out of profiling serial killers. But getting inside the twisted minds of the cruel and the sadistic has taken its toll: She’s walled herself off from the world. Yet Monica can’t ignore fellow agent Luke Dante, the only man who ever broke through her defenses. ONE DREAM TEAM Luke has the unique ability to put victims at ease…professionally, he and Monica made a perfect team. Now they’re reunited to catch a murderer who uses his victims’ deepest, darkest fears for sport – but their investigative skills aren’t enough. Luke and Monica will have to face the secrets from their past, the ones that terrify them the most, if they are to have a future together. But can they catch a killer whose weapon is…DEADLY FEAR Fast-paced, action- packed romantic suspense that will leave you breathless with anticipation. Previous Picks

Cynthia Eden | Into the Minds of Monsters
Author Guest / August 26, 2010

There are all kinds of monsters to be found within the pages of romance novels these days. You can find sexy vampires, wild (and hot) werewolves, and dangerous demons. I love these monsters, and I usually have a wonderful time writing about them. Sometimes, though, readers have asked me if it is hard to create a character that is more “monster” than man. And, honestly, it’s not. You see…with every monster that I create (whether I am creating a succubus heroine or a vampire hero), I make sure that I always give these paranormal beings human traits and characteristics. After all, they are monsters, but they aren’t perfect. So my monsters have fears, they have bad habits, and they have weaknesses…just like humans. I’ve found that when you give paranormal characters human flaws, well, then it is much easier for readers to identify with those supernatural beings. But, now, let me mix things up a bit. ? For a while, I only wrote about my paranormal heroes and heroines, but last month, I released my first romantic suspense novel with Grand Central Publishing’s Forever line. DEADLY FEAR follows two FBI agents as they track a sadistic serial killer. With this…