Welcome to Kiss and Thrill!
Kiss and Thrill is a joint effort by nine writers, published and unpublished, and we’re here to celebrate the books we love the most. If you love mysteries, suspense, and thrillers with strong romantic plots, then visit often and enjoy as we write about our favorite genre and bring you interviews from top writers in the field.
You can expect to find new content and often a book-related giveaway on Tuesdays, with a follow-up blog announcing winners on Thursdays. We have a great line up of guest authors planned, starting with tomorrow’s first guest, Allison Brennan!
Get ready to add to your to-be-read pile, because there are some fabulous book recommendations below.
SUZANNE BROCKMANN – Letters to Kelly (2003) Silhouette Intimate Moments No. 1213
After years of turning my back on fictional Happily Ever Afters, this book found me during the darkest period of my life. Within the first five pages, the fabulous Suz reminded me, in a powerful way, of how much I love reading romance.
LINDSAY MCKENNA – Morgan’s Marriage (1995) Morgan’s Mercenaries: Love and Danger – Silhouette Special Edition No. 1005
This bittersweet love story about an estranged husband and wife is one of the most emotional suspense stories I’ve ever read. It’ll be on my keeper shelf forever.
SUZANNE BROCKMANN – Out of Control (2002) Troubleshooters, Book 4
I can’t go anywhere without Out of Control. It was while devouring this book that I decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life—write romantic suspense. And I will always be grateful.
I love sensual, emotionally charged books with lots of action and suspense, especially those with a military/mercenary/ bodyguard/spy slant. Not sure I could live with just three books, but if I had to, these would be at the top of my list.
SUZANNE BROCKMANN – Over the Edge (2001) Troubleshooters, Book 3
Brockmann is hands down my favorite romantic suspense author—one of the first I ever read—and the one who inspired me to write it. She excels at creating characters who are both kick-butt and vulnerable. Every one of them feels real to me. Heavy on the emotion with deftly-written plots, choosing just one of her books was hard, but I keep coming back to Stan and Teri’s story over and over.
JOANNA BOURNE – The Spymaster’s Lady (2010)
Bourne combines suspense with my other favorite: historical romance. The characters and plot twists in this book left me breathless.
SUZANNE BROCKMANN – Frisco’s Kid (1997) Tall, Dark & Dangerous, Book 3
No, Sharon and I didn’t plan this. 😉
This book from Brockmann’s early days with Harlequin handled the physically and emotionally wounded warrior so well that two years after reading it, I still think about Frisco.
I would need stories that offer the comfort of characters who feel like old friends, the opportunity for discovery of nuances of plot or character previously unnoticed, and the simple pleasure of a well-crafted mystery—all while magically transporting me to distant places.
WILKIE COLLINS – The Woman in White (1859)
This 1859 precursor of the modern mystery thriller promises many hours of companionship with the Hartwrights and Fairlies, the comical Professor Pesca, the evil Count Fosco, and, of course, the mysterious woman glimpsed on a moonlit lane.
TANA FRENCH – Faithful Place (2010)
A nuanced portrait of murder, betrayal, and love set in contemporary Dublin. While solving the mysterious disappearance of his first love, undercover detective Frank Mackey wrestles with the ties of love and obligation that bind him to his dysfunctional childhood.
ELIZABETH LOWELL – Death Is Forever (1992, 2004)
Political intrigue and non-stop action in Australia where an American heiress and a geologist uncover dangerous secrets associated with an inherited diamond mine and battle to survive ruthless players in the international diamond trade.
TAMI HOAG – Night Sins (1995)
The first romance I read after a long break from the genre, this book made me realize how much I’d missed the added layer of intensity that romance brings to a suspense story. After reading Night Sins, I knew that when I eventually sat down to write a book, this was the genre for me.
ELIZABETH LOWELL – Jade Island (1998)
It was hard to choose only one Lowell book. The suspense element of her books is always a fun ride, so I picked Jade Island because the chemistry between Kyle and Lianne is amazing. From the first moment they meet, they sizzle, and the heat only increases from there.
LINNEA SINCLAIR – Finders Keepers (2005)
Science Fiction romance at its finest, Sinclair is a master at world building. I can read Trilby and Rhis’s adventure through space over and over, and each time I’m left with that happily-ever-after sigh of satisfaction.
There are so many other authors and novels I would have liked to list, but here are some of my all-time faves.
JULIE GARWOOD – Killjoy (2002)
Oh. My. Gosh. What is amazing about this book is the way Garwood busts all the stereo-types and digs so deeply into her characters. I love how the ‘victims’ in her novel fight back and defeat the villain. And talk about well-motivated, fleshed out villains – Monk is probably the most three-dimensional bad-guy I’ve ever read.
LINDA HOWARD – Mr. Perfect (2000)
Sexy, sexy, funny, sexy. Did I mention sexy? And funny? Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a romantic comedy. But the sexually charged dialogue zingers between the hero and the heroine are probably the best I’ve ever seen.
LISA GARDNER – The Perfect Husband (1998)
This novel is a favorite because of its emotional punch. Both the hero and heroine have so much baggage that you can’t help but empathize with them. And the suspense is the traditional, old-school, edge of your seat, nail-biting type of suspense. Classic. Timeless. Perfect.
KAREN ROSE – You Can’t Hide (2006)
You can’t get much better than Karen Rose for romance mixed with diabolical villains. The implication that our modern technologies can easily be turned against us in YCH, is chilling. Add in hunky Chicago cop with a chip on his shoulder Aidan Reagan, and psychologist with a stalker Tess Ciccotelli, and you’ve got a keeper.
JULIE ANNE LONG – The Perils of Pleasure (2008)
As a historical romance author who loves suspense, I adored the opening scene of this one. Colin Eversea is saved from the gallows by Madeline Greenway and they spend the novel on the run, searching for the man who framed Colin. And, of course, falling in love.
NORA ROBERTS – Angels Fall (2006)
Pairing Reece, a chef on the run, with Brody, a hunky crime novelist, this one is a great example of small town romantic suspense. With gorgeous Montana scenery and a cast of small town characters who are familiar but unique, Angels Fall is a must read for those looking to see how good romantic suspense can be.
How on earth can anyone manage on a mere three books? But since the gals have a gun to my head –apropos for a suspense group – I’ll try.
DOROTHY GILMAN – The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (1966)
I must mention the book that got me hooked on suspense in the first place – The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. Mrs. P is feisty, resourceful, and downright wonderful as a senior citizen who decides she wants to be a CIA agent. Not only did Gilman put me on track as a suspense author, she made me feel I could do anything, too.
JANET EVANOVITCH – Hot Six (2001)
Of course, I love Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum and think Hot Six is incredibly funny. I wish Stephanie would choose between Ranger and Morelli – she’s driving me nutty with the details about both these sexy guys.
NINA BRUHNS writes wonderful books – I simply couldn’t choose – so I’d have to put them in a sack and pull out one at random.
Then there’s darling NORA/JD ROBB, and the amazing REBECCA YORK, and DAVID BALDACCI, and BRAD MELTZER … and… oh no, they’ve loaded the gun … they’re pulling the trigger…
Ye gads! They’re cutting my word count!
I’d choose three suspense books with special meaning for me:
CHARLOTTE BRONTË – Jane Eyre (1847)
The first romantic suspense (hey, JE has got romance and suspense in spades!) I ever read. I couldn’t put it down, and that was a real pain because it is 538 pages!
HARLAN COBEN – Promise Me (2007)
I learned from this book that thrillers can not only scare you, they can make you laugh.
TESS GERRITSEN – The Surgeon (2002)
When I read this book I realized for the first time that it was possible to write a book that wasn’t just a romance, or a traditional romantic suspense, or a by-the-book medical thriller. It’s just a great book, and that’s exactly the kind of book I want to read.
LISA GARDNER – Alone (2005)
Her ability to weave all that compelling sniper research/lingo into such a tense, twisted story still leaves me breathless.
COLLEEN THOMPSON – Head On (2007)
The only book where right from page one you can’t fathom how the hero and heroine will ever, under any circumstances get together and fall in love! She’s a master at the slight-of-hand hints that point to the villain and I still can’t pick them up! Grr!
ALLISON BRENNAN – Fear No Evil (2007)
The first book in her current Lucy Kincaid Series. It’s the kind of story that makes your skin crawl even as you can’t turn the page fast enough. One of the most unique ticking time bomb plots ever, and I’m delighted to announce that ALLISON BRENNAN will officially launch our KissAndThrill blog site tomorrow! We’ve asked her some personal questions about what scares her, what authors she reads, etc. and we welcome your questions too!
Okay, so now it’s your turn. We want to know, what are your desert island books?