Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Harlequin Medical Romance!

As folks following me on Twitter know, I’ve been working through Harlequin Medical romances published from Jan 2011-May 2014 for a research project. I haven’t read them all, by any means, but I’ve read many, and for all the rest I’ve read blurbs, samples, and reader reviews. A few things really surprised me. I thought I’d see if I could surprise a few of you.

(Answers below the cut)

1. Which plot NOT is a real one?

a) Hero and heroine both utilized IVF to conceive, but the sperm samples were mixed up, and they now have each other’s kids. They meet to fix the problem and fall in love. HEA.
b) The heroine and hero had a relationship in medical school, but it ended when she handcuffed him to a bed and stole his fellowship. They meet up again years later and fall in love. HEA.
c) The heroine agreed to serve as gestational surrogate for her friend, but after getting “weird vibes” from the bio-dad, she ran off with the baby. She meets a nice doc. They fall in love. HEA.
d) The heroine is a gestational surrogate. When the bio-mom dies and the bio-dad refuses custody, the heroine tracks down the bio-dad. They fall in love. HEA.

2. As of right now, how many Medicals are published each month?

a) 3
b) 4
c) 6
d) 8

3.The doctor (hero)/nurse (heroine) pairing was once so common in medical romance that they were called “Doctor Nurse” romances. Today, what percentage of heroines in Harlequin Medical romance are nurses?

a) 75%
b) 50%
c) 35%
d) 25%

4. Of the recent Harlequin Medical romances that feature a nurse protagonist, how many feature a nurse hero?

a) 1
b) 3
c) 5
d) 7

5. Which one is NOT a setting for a recent Harlequin Medical?

a) Cruise ship
b) Hero’s desert kingdom
c) Space station
d) Liberia
e) Orient Express

6. What percentage of protagonists start the story as a single parent?

a) 10%
b) 15%
c) 25%
d) 35%

7. How many female protagonists are POC?

a) 2
b) 4
c) 6
d) 8

8. Which ridiculous reason was NOT used to end or prevent a relationship?

a) The heroine ran off to get her child an experimental treatment for a fatal disease against the objections of the hero, her husband.
b) The hero has cancer, and leaves the pregnant heroine to spare her.
c) In Liberia, the heroine insists on setting up a plastic surgery clinic which the hero thinks is frivolous.
d) The hero dumps the heroine because he wants to dedicate his life to eradicating a measles outbreak while training as an assassin to eradicate Jenny McCarthy.

9. A Harlequin Medical opens with:

a) the heroine’s point of view most of the time
b) the hero’s point of view most of the time
c) a roughly even split between hero and heroine’s point of view

10. Which health issue is NOT faced by a protagonist in recent Harlequin medicals?

a) postpartum depression
b) elective preventative mastectomy
c) alcoholism
d) macular degeneration
e) multiple sclerosis

11. Only one of the seven continents is unrepresented as a setting for a recent Harlequin medical. Which is it?

a) Asia
b) Africa
c) North America
d) South America
e) Antarctica
f) Europe
g) Australia

12. What is the most common profession for heroines who are NOT nurses?

a) doctor
b) midwife
c) paramedic/EMT
d) unemployed

13. What surprised this post author the MOST about Amazon.com reviews of Harlequin Medical romances?

a) The high frequency of the sentence “I skipped the sex scenes.”
b) How uncannily the wording tracked the jacket copy.
c) How well the reviewers seemed to know the author and her work.
d) How bitterly angry the reviewers were about the similarity of the names “Caroline Anderson” and “Catherine Anderson” and their own tendency to buy the wrong author.

14. How likely is it for the heroine to be sexually inexperienced?

a) Extremely unlikely
b) Somewhat unlikely
c) Likely
d) Very likely

15. By the end of the book, or at least by the next book in a continuing series, how many of the couples are parents?

a) All
b) Most
c) About half
d) Some

Continue reading

Top Ten Literary References in Friday Night Lights

I resisted Friday Night Lights for a long time. I don’t care about football, Texas, or, usually, family dramas. But I watched the pilot one night this summer when it seemed like the least terrible Netflix streaming choice. 60 minutes and a box of kleenex later, I was hooked. I watch all five seasons in one joyous-yet-weeptastic binge.

There’s not much in FNL for a book lover, but for Book Riot I dug up The Top Ten Literary References in Friday Night Lights.

PS. Update on my WordPress editor hate: It now gives me the option to toggle back to “Classic Mode.” Beep Beep Boop indeed. (And in case you are wondering what I am nattering on about, WordPress forum thread full of angry customers here.)


Why I Wish Romance Had a Readercon

Last month I attended two days of Readercon, an annual imaginative lit conference in Burlington, Mass. I read very little imaginative literature, but I had a great time anyway. The best part is always talking to fellow readers, and hanging out with Natalie of The Radish, Ridley of Love in the Margins, writer Victoria Janssen, and a few new friends was terrific. The vibe was very low key, and the focus was on books — not on writing them, selling them, promoting them, or blogging about them — but on what’s in them.*

Because of this, authors, readers, and bloggers came together as equals, as fans of the books. No panels on craft, sales, or marketing, so it was very different from an RWA or an RT. There were no signings and it generally wasn’t the place for author worship, despite the presence of some some pretty big names. Even bloggers tended to resist the urge to promote their own sites. There just wasn’t much energy directed towards self-promotion of any kind. The kind of frantic desperation in the air at an industry conference like BEA was totally absent.

Continue reading

I Blame You: Books You Made Me Buy This Week

I have little control over my book spending. But it’s not my fault. It’s yours.


1. I wasn’t going to buy the new Loretta Chase historical romance. I haven’t read one of hers in a while, and none in this Dressmakers series. And I have an aversion to ballgown covers. But Nicola had to write,

If you need a plot-driven, fast-paced, action-oriented story, this might not be for you. But if you are interested in an exploration of character,  in watching attraction bloom gradually, with a bit of social commentary as a backdrop, there is no better author to bring that to you than Loretta Chase.

And then Caz at All About Romance wrote,

above all, it’s the interactions between the hero and heroine that make this book such a delight. I was utterly captivated by the brilliance of the dialogue, which is witty and frequently displays a depth of feeling and insight that is rarely found in the genre.

Sadly, I won’t get it for a few weeks, but I added the professional narration for less than $4. Winning!


2. Admittedly, I was always going to buy the second book in Sarah Morgan’s contemporary romance series, Suddenly Last Summer, because I so enjoyed the first. But not until the third one came out. See, I really wanted the other brother to get his story first. But then Sunita went and reviewed it at Dear Author:

The first half of the novel is basically Sean and Élise throwing themselves at each other but swearing nothing more can ever, ever, happen between them. Buttons fly as shirts are ripped off, lovely dresses get drenched in the rain, and the Snow Crystal forest sees a lot of hot and heavy action.

I’m a sucker for this “this can never ever happen again” relationship.



3. On Audio, Barrayar, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Yes, this means I actually finished listening to Shards of Honor, after trying to read it in paper for the past three years. I’m still confused half the time. I still can’t figure out who is who and what they want, but the characters Cordelia and Aral are enough. I can’t blame anybody in particular for this one, but several of you have told me how great the books are, and have prasied the audio in particular. So I blame everyone.



4. In paper, The Ivy Tree, by Mary Stewart. For this one I blame Tasha, who wrote a Book Riot Reading Pathways post about Stewart. I’ve been wanting to read Stewart forever since so many romance friends started with her. For some reason the mistaken identity plot of this one grabbed me:

I’m a sucker for stories about mistaken identity and doubles, so it’s no wonder this is the Stewart novel I’ve reread the most. In fact, it’s probably the most reread book on my shelves. Stewart cleverly keeps the reader guessing as to whether Mary is who she says she is, or if she’s actually Annabel. And what happened to Annabel, anyway? Mystery! I also love the romance element in this novel because it’s so subtle and well-played.

And that’s it!


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