Romance for the Holidays: October Through December 2011

No doubt about it, the state of the weather right now (hot, hot, hot) makes me think about romance, so I’m revisiting the genre. Christmas romances were first on my naughty-but-nice list, since they’ve become so popular. Then I started thinking about Halloween and decided to feature paranormals publishing in October, even if they didn’t specifically feature trick or treating. And what about Valentine’s Day? As it turns out, Christmas roundly trounces Cupid in the romance arena these days; I found so few Valentine’s offerings that I decided not to list them and will wait to see if more are scheduled as fall rolls ’round. Meanwhile, vampires and other supernaturals (but no witches) nearly took over the the column. Here’s what I found.

Romance for All Hallows Eve
Aiken, G.A. The Dragon Who Loved Me. Zebra: Kensington. Sept. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9781420108897. pap. $6.99.
Fifth in a hot-hot series, this work takes Rhona the Fearless on a mission into enemy territory, as she fights alongside unreconstructed male-chauvinist dragons and gets eyed by the barbarian Vigholf the Abhorrent, whom she just loves needling.

Arthur, Keri. Darkness Rising: A Dark Angels Novel. Oct. 2011. 368p. ISBN 9780440245735.
Arthur, Keri. Darkness Unbound: A Dark Angels Novel. Sept. 2011. 384p ISBN 9780440245728.
ea. vol: Dell. pap. $7.99.
Risa Jones, half werewolf and half angel-like Aedh, is after someone who’s getting a jump on the Reapers‚ charged with collecting the souls of the dead‚ by separating souls from bodies ahead of schedule. This new series is spun off from Arthur’s top-of-the-charts Riley Jenson Guardian books.

Ashley, Amanda. Bound by Blood. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9781420121322.
Ashley, Amanda. Bound by Night. Sept. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9781420104455.
ea. vol. Zebra: Kensington. pap. $6.99.
This New York Times best-selling author launches a new series. Bound by Blood features 600-year-old casino owner and womanizing vampire Zack Ravenscroft, who falls hard for half-vampire, half-human Kaitlyn, daughter of the Carpathian Coven’s master, while Bound by Night retells Beauty and the Beast for a vampire-hungry age.

Betts, Heidi. Must Love Vampires. Brava: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780758247636. pap. $14.
In this latest from three-time Golden Hearts finalist Betts, nightclub dancer Chloe Lamoureaux doesn’t stop to question why rich, charming Aidan, who’s just proposed, seems to hate sunlight. But her tabloid reporter sister is rightly suspicious.

Day, Sylvia. A Touch of Crimson. Signet Eclipse. Oct. 2011. 368p. ISBN 9780451234995. pap. $7.99.
Angels and vampires and lycans, oh my. Tough-minded angel Adrian Mitchell heads a seraphim commando unit that punishes the Fallen‚ angels that have become vampires‚ while suffering his own special punishment as the mortal he loves is repeatedly lost to him, then reborn, then lost again. Meanwhile, the indentured lycans are planning a revolt. First in a new series from a best-selling author.

DePaul, Virna. Chosen by Fate. Berkley Sensation: Penguin Group (USA). Oct. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780425243992. pap. $7.99.
Though he has psychic powers and even hangs out with a vampire and a were, Caleb O’Flare can’t heal alluring Wraith, a ghost with no recall of her human life who finds touch unbearable. With her time about up (her type lasts about ten years), Wraith wants to discover her human identity and get it on with Caleb‚ for one night at least. And you thought your love life was complicated. Second in the Para Ops series.

Habel, Lia. Dearly, Departed. Del Rey: Ballantine. Oct. 2011. 426p. ISBN 9780345523310. $16.99.
2195, New Victoria. High-society teenager Nora Dearly is about to be married off by her avaricious aunt when she’s set upon by a bunch of walking corpses‚Ķand saved by a dashing young soldier who just happens to be deceased. But modern science allows him and others in the undead unit he commands to hang on to their senses. A zombie romance? You bet.

Harrison, Thea. Serpent’s Kiss. Berkley Sensation: Penguin Group (USA). Oct. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780425244401. pap. $7.99.
Made unruly and tempestuous by a disease called Serpent’s Kiss, Vampyre Queen Carling is driving away her subjects, and Wyr sentinel Rune wants to help. Third in the Elder Races series, launched just last May.

Hastings, Regan. Visions of Skyfire. Signet Eclipse. Oct. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9780451234971. pap. $7.99.
Teresa Santiago, who can call up lightning, joins Rune, her Eternal Protector, fated partner, and big, big crush, in the hunt for a powerful artifact that could truly bring on the darkness. Of course folks both mortal and immortal want it for their own devious means. Hastings is the alter ego of best-selling author Maureen Child, six-time RITA nominee.

Howell, Hannah & others. Highland Hunger. Kensington. Sept. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780758261526. pap. $15.
Scottish vampires! Set in the Highlands, this anthology features New York Times best-selling Howell’s Dark Embrace (Raibeart MacNachton looks for his clan’s Lost Ones but instead finds love), Michelle Sinclair’s The Guardian (Dorian declares he’ll never fall for a human but then meets Moirae Deincourt), and Jackie Ivie’s A Knight Beyond Black (Lady Tira discovers that years ago she was engaged years ago to vampire Iain Duncan MacAvee).

Humphreys, Sara. Unleashed. Sourcebooks Casablanca. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9781402258435. pap. $6.99.
The Amoveo, an ancient race of shape shifters known only to two human families, must find their soul mates by age 30 or perish. Which must have something to do with Samantha Logan’s decision on her 30th birthday to move back to grandma’s house on the beach, where she meets the seductive Malcolm Drews.

Husk, Shona. The Goblin King. Sourcebooks Casablanca. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9781402259852. pap. $6.99.
Cursed by Druids a millennium ago, Celtic king Roan literally has a heart of gold‚ a big, cold lump of it‚ and is slowly losing his humanity. He’ll become just another crazed goblin unless Eliza consents to be his wife. But will she? Would you?

Love, Kathy & others. So I Married a Demon Slayer. Brava: Kensington. Sept. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780758263155. pap. $14.
In USA Today best-selling Love’s Hot! undercover slayers in the mailroom pursue the demon running a fashion magazine as a model and a photographer fall in love, while New York Times best-selling Angie Fox’s What Slays in Las Vegas features a femme fatale succubus protecting her demon boss. Upcoming Lexi George’s offering is The Bride Wore Demon Dust.

MacAlister, Katie. Much Ado About Vampires. Signet Eclipse. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780451234926. pap. $7.99.
A vampire’s mate in a past life, Corazon Ferreira can’t forget the sight of his killing someone. (Well, it’s what vampires do.) But now she has to trust him; love asks so much. From a New York Times best-selling author.

Mead, Richelle. Succubus Revealed. Kensington. Sept. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780758232014. pap. $15.
Mead here wraps ups up her No. 1 New York Times best-selling series starring Georgina Kincaid, a succubus working for Lucifer to seduce men owing him their souls. Now that she’s fallen for Seth, she wants out of her job. Mead is always juicy; see her YA Vampire Academy series.

Palmer, Pamela. Ecstasy Untamed: A Feral Warriors Novel. Avon. Nov. 2011. 384p. Avon. ISBN 9780061794735. pap. $7.99.
Hawke has fallen for sweet Faith, but she’s intended for Maxim, the latest Feral. Alas, the new Ferals now emerging are evil, created by the Mage to destroy the good ones‚ and Faith, who finds herself falling for Hawke, realizes that she too is marked for a changeover. Yes, love is ferocious.

Robb, J.D. & others. The Unquiet. Jove: Berkley. Sept. 2011. 426p. ISBN 9780515149982. pap. $7.99.
Featuring a new In Death story by Robb, this anthology also includes pieces by Patricia Gaffney (a lonely woman bonds with a psychic), Ruth Ryan Langan (a young widow in a Scottish manor gets help from a huffy spirit), May Kay McComas (a young ghost eases his brother’s pain), and Mary Blayney (a widowed shopkeeper is saved by a dream, a magic coin, and a charming rogue).

Shayne, Maggie. Twilight Fulfilled. MIRA: Harlequin. Oct. 2011. 400p. ISBN 9780778312673. $7.99.
Shayne is on the 18th in the Wings in the Night series‚ her Twilight, going strong since 1993 and billed on her site as the one for grown-up girls. Here, vampire Armageddon is about to begin.

Singh, Nalini & others. Angels of Darkness. Berkley Sensation: Penguin Group (USA). Oct. 2011. 416p. ISBN 9780425243121. pap. $15.
Four authors: best sellers Singh (the Guild Hunter novels) and Ilona Andrews (Bayou Moon), plus Meljean Brook (The Iron Duke) and Sharon Shinn (the Samaria novels). Their stories all concern angels, good, bad, and always beautiful.

Sparks, Kerrelyn. Sexiest Vampire Alive. Avon. Sept. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9780061958052. pap. $7.99.
Charged with getting the U.S. government to suppress news that bloodsuckers live among us, sexy vampire Gregori Holstein is making no progress until he decides to charm the President’s kept-from-the-media daughter. Which means teleporting her to China to collect a plant that will cure her dying mother. Whoa!

Vincent, Rachel. If I Die. Harlequin Teen. Sept. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780373210329. pap. $9.99.
In the first book in this series, Kaylee discovers that she’s a bean sidhe (that’s a banshee)‚ and so is that hot guy she’s been crushing on forever. Now, in the fifth in the Soul Screamers series, Kaylee’s still working out the kinks in their relationship while contending with the new teacher‚ who’s really an incubus. Love this series; great for YA crossover readers.

Thompson,Vicki Lewis. Werewolf in the North Woods: A Wild About You Novel. Signet Eclipse. Oct. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780451234988. pap. $7.99.
When Abby’s grandfather says he saw Bigfoot stomping around in the woods behind his Portland, OR, home the neighbors promptly invite prominent anthropologist Roark Wallace to come prove him wrong. Abby wants Roark out, Roark wants to protect the werewolf pack he knows is really there, and then they both want each other.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Alexander, Victoria. His Mistress by Christmas. Kensington. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780758255679. $19.95.
Roguish Sir Sebastian Hadley-Atwater stands to inherit a fortune if he proves himself worthy. Can he persuade the widowed Lady Veronica Smithson, who chafes at the idea of marriage, to be more than his mistress by Christmas? From a two-time RITA nominee.

Basso, Adrienne. Tis The Season To Be Sinful. Zebra: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9781420111910. pap. $6.99.
In this Regency-set historical, Juliet Wentworth enters into a marriage of convenience that turns out quite differently. Maybe it was the mistletoe.

Blake, Toni. Holly Lane. Avon. Oct. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9780062024602. pap. $7.99.
Seeking solitude, a wounded Sue Ann Simpkins heads to an isolated cabin for the holidays‚ and encounters her old friend, Adam, who appears to have rented the cabin as well. Of course they get snowed in, but will their passion last?

Brown, Carolyn. A Darn Good Cowboy Christmas. Sourcebooks Casablanca. Oct. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9781402261572. pap. $7.99.
Raised in a traveling carnival, Liz Hanson is happy to inherit a house and some acres in Ringgold, TX‚ especially when sexy cowboy Raylen O’Donnell walks by. But is she ready to settle down? Next in Brown’s scorchy Spikes & Spurs series.

Burrowes, Grace. Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish. Sourcebooks Casablanca. Oct. 2011. 416p. ISBN 978140226154. pap. $7.99.
Vim Charpentier, Baron Rothgreb, does not want to be home for the holidays, as he expects the family estate has pretty much fallen apart. But he’s happy to help out Lady Sophie, who’s alone at her family’s ducal mansion with an abandoned child. More Regency fun from the author of Heir.

Camp, Candace. A Winter Scandal. Pocket Star: S. & S. Oct. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9781451639506. pap. $7.99.
Camp opens a new Regency trilogy with the story of an obedient vicar’s daughter, who discovers a live baby in the church’s Nativity scene manger, along with the signet ring of a lord she goes off roundly to denounce. What a scandal!

Carr, Robyn. Bring Me Home for Christmas. MIRA: Harlequin. Nov. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780778312710. $7.99.
Becca Timms wants to stop pining over Denny Cutler, who broke her heart, and to prove that she can do it she heads to Virgin River (where Denny lives) to crash her brother’s all-guys hunting weekend. Alas, an accident extends her stay‚ and gives her a chance to get reacquainted with Denny. Part of a booming new series.

Chapman, Janet. Highlander for the Holidays. Jove: Berkley. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780515150087. pap. $7.99.
Badly injured both physically and emotionally by a brutal attack, Jessie Pringle is finally ready to start living again and moves to starkly beautiful Maine. And there she meets Ian Mackeage, her holiday Highlander.

Dailey, Janet. To Santa with Love. Zebra: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9781420120738. pap. $6.99.
With the holidays, Jacquie Grey is heading west to start a new life‚ until along about Arizona she literally crashes into rancher Choya Barnett. Big statistics: Dailey has 325 million books in print in 19 languages in 98 countries. A definite stocking stuffer.

Duarte, Judy. Christmas on Nutcracker Court. Kensington. Oct. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780758238955. pap. $15.
Single mom Carly Westbrook prays for a miracle by Christmas‚ and gets aspiring novelist Max Tolliver, who’s got writers’ block and issues with Carly’s four rambunctious boys‚ until he meets Carly herself. The fourth novel Duarte has set in small-town Fairbrook.

Gray, Sarah. A Vampire Christmas Carol. Kensington. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780758266835. pap. $15.
A vampire-Dickens mash-up! Old Ebenezer Scrooge becomes a big-time vampire slayer with the help of Jacob Marley and the three spirits. As for the love interest: remember his Belle, his former fiancée?

Gray, Shelley Shepherd. Christmas in Sugarcreek: A Christmas Seasons of Sugarcreek Novel. Avon Inspire. Oct. 2011. 272p. ISBN 9780062089762. $16.99.
Judith Graber dutifully works in her family’s store during the holiday, feeling rather overlooked. Then her father hires Ben Knox, the black sheep of their Amish community, and her life changes in a big way. This is a popular series.

Kauffman, Donna & others. The Naughty List. Brava: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780758253118. pap. $6.99.
USA Today best-selling author Kauffmann’s Naughty but Nice features a businessman who must rethink things when he gets stuck on a sassy baker during the holidays, while Cynthia Eden’s All I Want for Christmas stars a nice girl having a naughty fling with a sexy cop dressed as Santa. In Susan Fox’s Tattoos and Mistletoe Charlie returns home to help her aunt fix up her B&B‚ and encounters a guy from high school who’s no longer a geek. I do find it unsettling that this handsome hunk is named LJ.

Keller, Cynthia. A Plain & Fancy Christmas. Ballantine. Oct. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780345528759. $16.
Young, widowed Amish mother Rachel Yoder and high-powered, New York City‚ based careerist Ellie Lawrence would seem to have nothing in common‚ until they discover that they had been switched at birth. The holidays seem like the perfect time to get to know their biological families‚ and each other.

Leigh, Lora & others. Tied with a Bow. Berkley Sensation: Penguin Group (USA). Nov. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780425243299. pap. $15.
Instead of elves, these four spicy paranormals feature the Breeds (Leigh), fallen angels (Virginia Kantra), shape-shifting Lupi (Eileen Wilks), and muses and vampires (Kimberly Frost). Not your standard Christmas.

London, Laurie & others. A Vampire for Christmas: Enchanted by Blood/Monsters Don’t Do Christmas/When Herald Angels Sing/All I Want for Christmas. HQN: Harlequin. Oct. 2011. 384p. ISBN 978-0373776443. $7.99.
London is joined by Michele Hauf, Caridad Pineiro, and Alexis Morgan in an anthology that puts some teeth into the holiday celebrations.

McCarthy, Erin. Unwrapped. Brava: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780758251329. pap. $15.
McCarthy’s Blue Christmas is set in Kentucky, Donna Kaufman’s Santa in a Kilt (you guessed it!) in Scotland, and Kate Angell’s Snow Angel in Chicago, but they all entail the happy surprise of holiday hunks.

Macomber, Debbie. 1225 Christmas Tree Lane. MIRA: Harlequin. Sept. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9780778312697. $16.95.
Beth Morehouse is anticipating a fabulous Christmas‚ except that her daughters have invited their father, her ex-husband Kent, to Cedar Grove for Christmas (how will that go down with new beau Ted?), and she’s worrying about the basket of puppies left on her doorstep. Romance readers love visiting Cedar Grove.

Mendicino, Tom. Remembering Christmas. Kensington. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780758266859. pap. $15.
Guys getting nostalgic. James is snowbound on his way home in Mendicino’s Away in a Manger; Jack arrives home in Hazel Park, MI, and meets a old flame from Hillbilly High in Frank Anthony Polito’s A Christmas To Remember; and two childhood friends hit it off in an airport lounge on Christmas Eve in Michael Salvatore’s Missed Connections.

Michaels, Fern. Christmas at Timberwoods. Zebra: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780821775875. pap. $7.99.
Angela, who designs the holiday displays at Timberwoods Mall, has a premonition that disaster will occur there on Christmas Eve. Since Angela’s presentiments are usually right, mall security manager Heather Andrews is nervous. At least she has her boss to lean on. From the author of 49 consecutive New York Times best sellers.

Michaels, Fern & others. Making Spirits Bright. Zebra: Kensington. Nov. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9781420108361. pap. $7.99.
Busy Michaels leads off this anthology. In her Making Spirits Bright, Bryce Landry wants to marry just for Christmas (or so she thinks) so that she can adopt two orphans. Elizabeth Bass’s Runaway Christmas features Heidi Bogue, whose café turns into a community center when a holiday blizzard hits. In Rosalind Noonan’s Home for Christmas, Jo Truman wants lonely soldier Sam Norwood to be Santa at her gift shop’s Christmas party, while Maddie Carlson’s decision to help babysit a new puppy brings her more than just canine kisses in Nan Rossiter’s Coal for Christmas.

Miller, Linda Lael. A Lawman’s Christmas. HQN: Harlequin. Oct. 2011. 256p. ISBN 9780373776146. $16.95.
Though she’s in desperate circumstances after the death of her husband, the marshal of Blue River, TX, Dara Rose Nolan won’t give up her children or resort to joining the ranks of fallen women at the Bitter Gulch Saloon. Fortunately, the new marshal has a very attractive proposal. From a New York Times best-selling author.

O’Riley, Kaitlin. It Happened One Christmas. Zebra: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9781420112399. pap. $6.99.
Next in the Hamilton Sisters series: Lisette Hamilton plans to marry safe and secure Henry Brooks, while Quinton Roxbury is set on Lady Emmeline Tarleton‚ until he meets Lisette. During the holiday season, of course.

Page, Sharon & others. Silent Night, Sinful Night. Aphrodisia: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780758266705. pap. $14.
A triple-threat anthology, historical, erotic, and holiday-themed. In Page’s Wicked for Christmas, each Christmas Amelia awaits the return of Lord Dante Rivington, who proposed, ravished her, and then disappeared. In Chloë Harris’s Stolen Chances Winston Matthews encounters a gorgeous thief, and in Melissa MacNeal’s Naughty or Nice? Tess heads to Colorado to escape the memories of bad Christmases past and finds a nice Christmas present.

Perrin, Kayla & Deborah Fletcher Mello. All I Want Is You. Dafina: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9780758268679. pap. $6.99.
In Essence best seller Perrin’s Holiday Seduction, Mikki Harper returns home for her sister’s wedding and gets reacquainted with a high school class who’s no longer stodgy, while Malisa Ivey’s Her Holiday Gifts features a baker trapped in her own humungous cake‚ and yes, she gets to pop out in front of a most appealing client.

Pittman, Joseph. A Christmas Wish. Kensington. Oct. 2011. 256p. ISBN 9780758266712. pap. $12.95.
Even as eight-year-old Janey and new guardian Brian struggle with the death of Janey’s mom, they must also try to create a family together. Time for Christmas wishes to come true.

Romain, Theresa. Season for Temptation. Zebra: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 368p. ISBN 9781420118957. pap. $6.99.
Pity poor Viscount Matheson. Needing to marry, he’s pledged to sensible Louisa Herrington. Then he meets her wild and vivacious stepsister, Julia. A debut set in 1880s London.

Sands, Lynsay & Jeaniene Frost. The Bite Before Christmas. Morrow. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780062014078. $19.99.
Have yourself a paranormal Christmas‚Ķ. Sands brings back Katricia Argeneau, snowbound with the man she’s eyeing in The Gift, while Jeaniene Frost revisits her Night Huntress world in Home for the Holidays. A bad, bad vampire lurks, disrupting the holidays for Cat and Bones. From two New York Times best-selling authors.

Thomas, Jodi & others. A Texas Christmas. Zebra: Kensington. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9781420119664. pap. $6.99.
Round ’em up, head ’em out: here are four Western historical romances from four Texas-based authors. Along with Thomas (Give Me a Cowboy), they include Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda, and DeWanna Pace, and the characters range from a saloon keeper to an heiress stranded on a train.

Woods, Sherryl. An O’Brien Family Christmas. MIRA: Harlequin. Oct. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9780778312703. $16.95.
Billed as a Chesapeake Shores novel (the next in a long and popular series), this work is still supposed to get us to Dublin for the holidays. Be sure to pack.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.


  1. Sara says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I just wanted to thank you for including “Unleashed” in your post! I do hope you’ll enjoy Malcolm and Samantha’s story.
    All the Best,
    Sara Humphreys

  2. Barbara Hoffert says:

    Lord, I no longer know what year I’m in–already writing about 2012 books. thanks for catching!