Behind the Book: The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

Editor’s Note: Best known for Gothic horror and dark young adult mystery novels, April Genevieve Tucholke is taking a dive into the previously unexplored with The Boneless Mercies. This novel is a gorgeously written standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of glory. Throughout the novel, Tucholke portrays fierce women warriors in unapologetic friendship who refuse to quit their quest for glory. We had a chance to catch up with April recently and she was kind enough to answer some burning questions for us.

Boneless Mercies Cover

Your previous books, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue SeaBetween the Spark and the Burn, and Wink Poppy Midnight are very different books from The Boneless Mercies. What made you want to write a more historical piece?
Fantasy is my first love. The words “sword and sorcery” still make my heart skip a beat. Fantasy is what I read when I want to truly escape into a fictional world. Spring and summer are for Jerome K. Jerome and PG Wodehouse or mysteries like Miss Marple or Brother Cadfael—but fall and winter are for fantasy, a retreat into something darker and grander and nobler than the world I know. It was my favorite genre as a kid and is still my favorite today. Continue reading

Catherine the Great + 12 Historical Biographies about Royalty

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Robert K. Massie has done it again. His latest historical biography, Catherine the Great, officially releases tommorow –  Tuesday, November 8. Thanks to our friends at Random House, we were able to dive in to an advanced copy so we can tell you all about it. Such intrigue!

In Massie’s characteristic style, this book offers an imagery-laden narrative read that’s so rich in drama you might just forget it’s historical fact and not fiction. Highly recommended reading selection for history buffs or for any reader who enjoys a good, sordid tale. And it runs the gamut – from numerous affairs and illegitamate children, to near-assassination plots and political coups. Catherine the Great‘s biography tells the fascinating turn of events from childhood through adolescence which led her into the Russian court, and into adulthood when she became Empress of Russia at the age of 33. You follow along as Russian Empress Elizabeth takes her under her wing and nurtures her, and then watch how quickly so many turn against her.

Massie studied American history at Yale and European history at Oxford. He brings his fine education and decades of research to the page in this new book. His previously-published, enthralling biographies include Peter the Great (1980), Nicholas and Alexandra (1989), and The Romanovs (1996).


If you enjoy this biography, you should check out these other historical biographies about monarchs throughout history (pictured above). Many of their life stories have been written about countless times, some made into award-winning motion pictures. There’s enough published about royalty and nobility to keep you busy reading for quite a while.

And remember, November is National Lifewriting Month, an opportunity to celebrate and share our personal and family stories. So read a biography or grab a pen and start scribing your own memior.

— Meredith

Top 8 Cheesy Romance Titles

Cheddar? Pepper Jack? Asiago? Roquefort? I’m talking cheese, and any HPB bookseller’s day can instantly brighten at the sight of a choice cheesy romance title. Not to poke fun at a genre we love to sell (and, let’s be honest, it sells really well) but there are some interesting titles out there. Here are just a few favorites our employees have enjoyed shelving these last few months– and for the record, I can neither confirm nor deny I have read these.

Popular title knock offs: The Devil Wears Tartan or Eat, Prey, Love? How about Forbidden or For Bedding?

Here are a couple from some of our favorite romance subgenres:

Paranormal: Touch a Dark Wolf; Dead Girls Are Easy

Western: Long Hard Ride; The Cowboy Wants a Baby

Historical: The Very Virile Viking; What a Duke Wants

Urban: Every Thug Needs A Lady; Shame On It All: A Novel


Or, use some of these formulas to create your own:

Option One:

(Tamed/Taken/Claimed) by the (Tycoon/Sheik/Argentine Billionaire/Savage)

Simple circle one from Choice A and one from choice B. Easy as pie.

Option Two:

Combine three or more of the following in any order.

Something about the man: (Sheik, Billionaire, Boss, Prince, Italian, Tycoon)


Something about the woman: (Secretary, Virgin, Mistress, Bride, Assistant, Pregnant)


Something about their relationship: (Taken, Bought, Marriage, Convenient, Arrangement, Price)


Title-naming gold: The Sheik’s Marriage Arrangement. The Tycoon’s Taken Secretary. Bought: The Billionaire’s Bride. The Italian’s Pregnant Virgin. The Boss’ Convenient Mistress. The Price of the Prince’s Assistant.

And, my own creation, which includes a tagline: Pick Up Day: The Trash Collector Meets the Aging Heiress


Is there a job opening for romance title creators? Call me! Loving to read romance has never been so fun…or cheesy!

Any romance subgenres we’ve left out? We were going to include Amish Romance (in fact, a few of us are planning on starting an Amish Romance Book Club soon — our first title is The Englisher) but as you can see, Amish Romance titles are a touch more  . . . proper than other romance subgenre counterparts.

Any other titles you have browsed lately that you find worth sharing?

— Becky