Hi romance fans!

As we hurtle into summer, I am enjoying a few Superhero movies. Are you a fan? I have to say, I love them. The Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, all of the X-Men movies—though the recent reboot has been especially interesting. Brilliant casting of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as young Dr. X and Magneto vs. the older versions played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen has been intriguing to watch.

Of course, as a romance fan, the best parts of these blockbusters are often the love interests or triangles. And there is plenty of eye-candy (Wolverine and Thor especially come to mind—ahem), witty banter and over-the-top action. There is just something about these clever, fun movies that seems perfect for a little summer cinema escapism.

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Which, for a reader, begs the question of whether or not there are any superhero books to recommend. I’ve come up with a few, and asked their authors if they had any thoughts on the matter, too—plus their thoughts on the movies.

If you haven’t read the wonderful Iron Duke (and Iron Seas series) by Meljean Brook, I highly recommend it. With steampunk details and an alternative world history that has the Mongol Horde taking over the world a few hundred years ago, the book is smart, intriguing and engaging. And the superhero part? Well...Rhys Trahaearn has iron bones, can survive almost anything and basically saved the world. In Mina he finds a brilliant and beautiful mate who can keep up with him in every way, but refuses to taint him with her questionable bloodlines, setting him up to be her romantic superhero on top of everything else. It’s a fun adventure and a sexy romance.

I caught up with Meljean Brook to ask her thoughts on superhero romances and her favorite movie:

"I would heartily recommend Marjorie Liu's work to anyone who loves superheroes. If you're a fan of X-Men or the Avengers, or enjoy stories about teams of heroes who each have unique abilities, then the Dirk & Steele series is hard to beat. Tiger Eye is the first book, but you can start with any one of them. Marjorie's lyrical prose, incredible worldbuilding, and fascinating characterizations simply sing off the page. And if you prefer Vertigo-like heroes and comics—those stories with a darker edge—then pick up her Hunter Kiss books. She's an incredible storyteller.Iron Duke-2

And if you're searching for a superhero movie with a fun dash of romance, look no further than The Fifth Element. This movie is a visual treat—from the set designs to the costuming—with Bruce Willis playing a reluctant hero, Milla Jovovich flashing her multi-pass and kicking ass, and Gary Oldman as the ridiculously over-the-top villain. This movie is worth seeing for the opera scene alone, but there isn't a dull minute. It's one of those movies that I can't surf past if I come across it on television—just two hours of sheer futuristic fun."

Bobbi, again: For a completely different kind of superhero, I love Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, and the heroic Ghost of St. Giles. I couldn’t pick a favorite book in the series, because they are all excellent, but the one that might focus most on the “ghost’s” exploits is Thief of Shadows. Winter Makepeace runs a foundling home by day and protects the dangerous streets of his neighborhood by night, as the masked, avenging Ghost. When he is wounded, help comes in the surprising form of Lady Isabel Beckinhall’s carriage. And so the odd—and very sexy—courtship begins. A perfect blend of romance, adventure and mystery.

Elizabeth Hoyt offered these book and movie suggestions:

"If you’d read any of my Maiden Lane books, it probably won’t surprise you that I’d recommend The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy to any reader. For something more recent, try Firelight by Kristin Callihan, a historical romance set in Victorian London that has a gothic tone with a mysterious masked (yum!) hero and a heroine who has powers she's not sure she can control. Loved it from start to finish!

As for movies, I loved the most recent Captain America movie, but the first still remains my favorite."

A couple other superhero options from Bobbi:

Check out the ACRO series by Sydney Croft (which is the pen name of the fab writing duo Stephanie Tyler and Larissa Ione). A sort of X-Men team of heroes, with various powers and weaknesses. They are considered erotic, so keep that in mind if that heat level bothers you, but they are an entertaining take on the wounded hero theme.

Stephanie Tyler sent this along as a movie recommendation:

"My favorite superhero movie is Hellboy. He's such an anti-hero, the demon with the heart of gold...and he enjoys his status as an anti-hero. But he's so sweet (can I say that about a demon?) and the way he treats his love interestTiger Eye...along with saving the world of course, just makes me melt."

And Bobbi's last suggestion, complete with a giveaway: I truly loved Nalini Singh’s most recent addition to her terrific Psy-Changeling series, Shield of Winter. Wounded hero Vasic can teleport on a thought, and his repressed emotions are an incredibly sexy and tortured counterpoint to empath Ivy. Together they may save the world, but the price for Vasic might be very high.

Nalini Singh is on book tour, and her book suggestion was also Iron Duke (great minds!). So I’ll share her movie suggestion here:

"A superhero movie I really enjoyed was The Dark Night Rises. The intensity and the deep characterization, together with the storyline, gripped me from the start. I loved that we saw so many facets of the main character, including the very human side, and how can I forget the romance?! A great movie."

Summer’s heating up, so it’s a perfect time to read some great books and watch some very fun movies! I couldn’t possibly decide on a favorite superhero movie myself, but I’m with Elizabeth Hoyt on loving The Scarlet Pimpernel. One of my all-time favorite movies to watch is the 1984 TV miniseries adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel starring Jane Seymour and Anthony Andrews—with Ian McKellan as a the French villain.

Want to win a copy of Nalini Singh’s Shield of Winter? Berkley Publishing is generously donating three hardcover copies to give away. Visit the Bobbi Dumas author page on Facebook to enter to win.

Bobbi Dumas is a freelance writer, book reviewer, romance advocate, and founder of ReadARomanceMonth.com. She mostly writes about books and romance for NPR, The Huffington Post and Kirkus.