There's a word that's worked its way into New Orleans creole that's pronounced lan' yap and has come to mean "a little something extra; something you weren't expecting."

Lagniappe pretty much encompasses the beauty of the "category" romance, that sweet, sleek, slim little brand of read that promises a brisk devour-in-a-weekend jaunt to HEA, yet always delivers so much more. Kind of the same way Melanie Schuster delivers readers yet another Devereaux delicieux -- from among the Big Easy's easiest-on-the-eyes family of men -- to turn a Christmastime love story into a sultry and sophisticated "Picture Perfect Christmas" romance.

The holidays aren't all that joyful for powerful attorney and presidential advisor Philippe Devereaux; he was dumped Christmas Eve years ago by the young woman he loved since he first met her gangly legged, messy-braided and sassy-mouthed little girl self.  

Yet when Philippe sees Chastain Thibodaux all grown up and fronting her first NYC fine-art exhibition, he's struck by three things: She's become even more dynamic and beautiful; he still loves her; and he's going to sue her blind if she doesn't remove from the exhibition three life-size nudes she's painted of him in living color for God and everyone to gawp at.

For her part, Chastain Thibodaux has no intention of changing anything for Philippe Devereaux, regardless of his threats or the fact that she's still feels drawn - and connected - to him after not seeing him for the years she spent studying in grad school and in Paris.  Why should she put herself out for the man who broke her heart on Christmas Eve, who sent her off to study w/out a word of regret, rather than ask her to stay by his side in their beloved New Orleans stomping grounds?

Yet Phillippe and Chastain - can you stand how gorgeous those names are? - are brilliant, passionate people, whose lives and families are connected on many levels.  What would it hurt, they decide, to face their still-simmering attraction head on, at least for the holidays?  Chastain is certain it only can help her get over the pain Phillippe caused her and help her move on.  

But Phillippe, being nobody's fool, plans to pull out all the stops - including using their family ties and the magic of the season, if necessary - to make up for his mistakes, and show Chastain how the time they spent apart only made them more perfect for each other in the long run.

What do you like about category romances?  Do you have favorite "family" series of romances like the Devereaux?  What makes you want to read more about a family in a series?


by Moderator becke_davis on ‎12-04-2009 01:27 PM

I've always been a sucker for French names. Always. (And even when I can't pronounce them.)

by PrincessBumblebee on ‎12-04-2009 03:26 PM

Hey, Bellas! Oh, I just love French names. Probably because I took French for 4 years in high school and can't get enough of it!

Well, no family in a series comes to mind at the moment, but I can't get enough of Stephanie Plum and her crazy bounty hunter life, hehe. Also, Elizabeth Boyle's 'Bachelor Chronicles' is sort of a family, hehe. Do friends count, hehe?

by PrincessBumblebee on ‎12-04-2009 03:28 PM

Duh, why didn't I think of Kresley Cole and her IAD series, which mostly centers around her Valkyries. Since they're all sisters, and Emma is their neice, then that could be a family thing, right? Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but close enough, right? hehe

by Lisa_Kroener on ‎12-04-2009 03:56 PM

I'm going to study French (and English, of course!) next year and my grandfather's mother was French, so I've always felt a special connection with the language although I have to admit that "Chastain" doesn't appeal to me... *ducks books thrown in her direction*


Principessa, the Valkyries, of course! Love 'em!


I'm thinking right now of all the wonderful families Nora Roberts created - the MacKades, for example, or the Stanislaskis. Or the fabulous Bridgertons by JQ, of course. The Byrons in Tracy Anne Warren's historical series are my most recent favs. Karen Rose has got a few families in her books, always connecting them in one way or the other.


What I love about the familiy theme is that you know that when a book about yet another character comes out you're sure to see (or at least hear about) the older ones, as well. I love how family members interact, the bonds, the love but also the heated discussions. Oftentimes my favourite parts in books.



by MalePerspectiveGuy on ‎12-04-2009 04:54 PM

"three life-size nudes she's painted of him in living color"  Could anything be more frightening and funny than this? Back in college,  I had to do a life-size nude self-portrait for art class, and it was the worst experience of my life.  The drawing was worse than that.

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎12-04-2009 04:58 PM

I'm thinking of the families of Linda Lael Miller both contemporary and historical, then we have Lynn Kurland and her interlapping families of McClouids and DePaiget and some of hers are multigenerational, then we have that rascally clan the Mallorys from Johanna Lindsey also multigenerational , The Drake sisters from Christine Feehan plus a lot of her Carpathians are related. And now I have yet another family to meet and become friends with.


by 1lovealways on ‎12-04-2009 07:16 PM

Hi Everyone!


I used to live for the category romance, because some of my favorite authors wrote them.  As they graduated to writing the longer novel, I went with them.  Authors like Sandra Brown, Barbara Delinsky, Joan Hohl, Nora Roberts and Jayne Castle.  Those are just a few.  Back in the day category is what saved you while you were waiting on the bigger novels to come out.


Those are some beautiful French names!  I also took French in high school and loved the language.  I still do.  As for family series my favorite comes to mind.  That is the Mackenzie Family Saga by Linda Howard.  I've read every book in that installment and still wish she'd come out with something else.  I've read them and re-read them and still enjoy them.  Sometimes there are strong and not necessarily weak characters that you want to read about or that just grab your attention.  These are the ones whose story you long for.   In Linda's Mackenzie Saga, it was Chance and Zane.  I always wanted her to write books on those two brothers and she did. 


I have to agree with the Princess about Kresley Cole's IAD series.  You not only have the Valkyries.  There's the McRieves, the Wroths and the Woedes.  Those are the ones that I can think of.  I know that Bowen McRieve's character jumped out at me in A Hunger Like No Other.  At the time, I didn't know he had a book.  I'm so glad that he did.  Thank you for Bowe Ms. Cole!  I adore him! 


There's also family ties in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter Series and Lynsay Sands Argeneau Vampire Series.  I'm sure there are a lot more!   :smileyhappy:

by amyskf on ‎12-07-2009 10:45 AM

Yet another lover of French -- and I, too, took 4 years in high school. Lisa, I have to disagree -- I lurve the name Chastain, but I'll refrain from throwing objects.


Michelle, your review made me laugh out loud, now I know I have to read this book. And I love categories, especially during this busy time of the year. The only family I can think of right now are the Bridgertons...I'm sure more will come to mind -- as for throwing things, I've just started Kresley Coles series, 'cuz Michelle voted the last one in her series for her "best of" list for B&N -- I'll be ducking over here.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎12-07-2009 10:50 AM

Yep, four years of French, six years of Spanish for me. I can still understand quite a bit of both languages, but it's very hard to remember enough to carry on even a basic conversation based on my own recollections.


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