Tag Archives: leah braemel

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, December 15, 2013

15 Dec

Upcoming Books and Recent Releases

It’s well known that I feel Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster series is one of the best Regency romance series out there, so I’m pleased to see that Avon Publishing is cleverly releasing the first three books of it (and they are AWESOME) as a e-bundle for people wanting to try it. Available as of December 17th, Cynsters: The Beginning includes Devil’s Bride, A Rake’s Vow and Scandal’s Bride and will cost only $13.59, a massive discount from the $7.99 for each book which is the standard retail price.

Angela Knight announced the prequel to her successful Magverse series, Wicked Games, will be released as of April 1, 2014. Containing not only the story that started this fantastic reinterpretation of Arthurian tales (think sexy vampires as knights and plenty of magic), it also bundles several previously released e-tales which have been revised and expanded for this anthology.

Vivian Arend’s next novel in her Thompson & Son series, Baby, Be Mine, will be published on February 25, 2014. This book combines a friends to lovers trope along with a surprise baby and amnesia when Gage Jenick takes advantage of long-time friend and hottie Katy Thompson kicking her boyfriend to the curb, even if his work is going to make him incommunicado for a couple of months. What he didn’t anticipate was that his girlfriend would have no memory of him or their incredible night together after she is involved in a car crash. While Katy wonders why Gage returns acting so territorial around her, she’s way more interested in how on earth she could be pregnant? In Arend’s hands, this is bound to be pure gold, so pre-order now!

Arend is going to win the busy bee award in February, considering that earlier in the month she also has the next installment of her Adrenaline Search & Rescue series, High Seduction coming out on February 4th. Armchair adrenaline junkies will definitely want to pre-order this puppy, a sexy chopper pilot looking for someone else to take control in the bedroom and the old flame paramedic who is more than happy to give her exactly what she needs.

Contests and Giveaways

Hustle over to Goodreads today for a chance to enter the historical romance anthology At the Duke’s Wedding, featuring stories by such powerhouse authors as Caroline Linden, Katharine Ashe, Miranda Neville and Maya Rodale. Enter by December 15th for a chance at these stories in print form for the first time!

Vampire Book Club, a blog whose reviews can always be counted on to inform, is offering a fabulous Urban Fantasy giveaway, with books by Adrian Phoenix, Jess Haines, Christina Henry and Eileen Rendahl to populate your bookshelves. Get over there before December 19th to enter for your chance to win!

With a mid-week deadline, another giveaway worth entering is for the first book of Emma Barron‘s Tropical Nights series, Exposed, which ends on December 18th. When a reporter is assigned the interview of a reclusive CEO, she thinks it’s a run-of-the-mill assignment not realizing her boss has led the company to believe that it’s a write up for a major economics journal and not the gossip magazine she works for. But both this sexy businessman and determined reporter have had their heart burned before, so as they realize that this interview is revealing their desire for one another as well as the facts, the question remains if they can get past their trepidation to find something real together.

Contemporary author Leah Braemel is participating in the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop, offering a $10 Amazon or B&N card as a present to a lucky visitor who participated in her Rafflecopter giveaway by December 19th. For an even bigger prize (and a bit of guide through the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop) head to P. J. Schnyder‘s blog and look at her giveaway which garners you entries via tweeting and commenting at the various participants blogs. In addition to Braemel and Schnyder (two excellent authors) they’re joined by such wonderful authors as Laura Kaye (of Hard As It Gets fame), Christine d’Abo, Christi Barth, Cat Johnson, and Dana Marie Bell among others. Enter before December 20th to see if Santa is going to give you something electronic under your tree via a $200 gift card to Best Buy if you manage to win this one!

Speaking of the Cynster saga (see the Upcoming Books and New Releases entry above), Goodreads is having a giveaway of one of the spin-off books from that Regency saga, Where the Heart Leads, the first in The Casebook of Barnaby Adair series. Currently the only entry in that series, Laurens recently announced she’ll be adding several books to it and I’m elated, as Barnaby, the aristocrat with a penchant for investigation via London’s burgeoning police force is a favorite of mine! This book is the one where he falls for the cerebral yet beautiful Lady Penelope Ashford, and it’s a doozy with some of my favorite characters making appearances. Enter before December 20th for your chance to win!

New York Times Best-Selling author Donna Grant is having a Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway on her Facebook page where she is posting lovely daily prizes for commenters (like $50 bookseller gift cards!), so head over there and start contributing! I imagine they’ll just keep getting better and better the closer to Christmas we get. :-)

It’s tough not to giggle at some of Harlequin’s titles and the Intrigue novels are usually the most chuckle-worthy. That does not stop this imprint from periodically hitting a home run, and I have to confess to putting Secret Agent Secretary , the second book in Melissa Cutler‘s ICE: Black Ops Defenders series, on my to-read list. When a desk jockey is catapulted into the arms of a handsome agent, they need to work together to foil a nefarious plan. Luckily for all of us, it’s also being offered in a Goodreads giveaway for people who enter prior to the end of December.

The erotic romance author group collectively known as the Smutketeers (R. G. Alexander, Eden Bradley, Rachel Grace, Eve Berlin and Robin L. Rotham) on their blog of the same name have begun their Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway with not only daily prizes and fabulous highlights of recent books you’ll want under your tree, but a cumulative prize of a $300 gift card for a dedicated reader who posts a comment on each day of the celebration. That’s a lot of books….

Fun Stuff

‘Tis the season for finding gifts for all the readers in your family, and game enthusiasts might want to take a gander at all the book-related board games out there geared toward readers. Flavorwire has a terrific list of 10 board games for book nerds (why are we always nerds?) including ones based on Pride & Prejudice and Beowulf, or you can get a classic like Bookopoly, geared toward middle school kids but great for readers of all ages.

I usually don’t post stuff about YA romance (probably because I think about it all the time in my day job as a young adult librarian) but I had to share the wonderful post by author Diana Peterfreund on the RITA awards and their perhaps misguided treatment of YA romance. Peterfreund has numerous successful books under the belt, many of which should be award-winners in multiple categories, but this thoughtful analysis of the Romance Writers’ Association and YA is worth a read and re-read.

Great Deals

The full-length erotic novel (gracious, that sounds dirty!) Sexual Persuasion by Maryn Sinclair is currently free on Amazon. When a woman is rescued from an uncomfortable encounter with an ex, she can’t deny the heat between her handsome rescuer and herself. But when that gorgeous man is revealed to be an attorney with one client (the local mob head), and she hears the rumors that this same man who is clearly interested in getting her in bed also was the lover of his male mob boss, she’s confused. Will his past come between them or can she be persuaded?

Erotic historical author Kate Pearce currently has the prequel to her Sinners Club series also available for free, The First Sinners. The series features men who belong to a private gentlemen’s club filled with men who have either sketchy pasts or specific predilictions – and the need to keep both quiet. In this novella, an Earl investigating possible treason deploys all his wiles at a house party in the hope of uncovering valuable evidence. What he is surprised to uncover is one innocent young miss determined to find a man who can teach her carnal pleasure (and his lordship knows exactly who can fulfill that role).

Following in today’s erotic historical romance bargains trend is Samantha Kane‘s Regency menage novel, The Courage to Love, the first of her Brothers in Arms series which is also available for free on Amazon as of right now. A dress shop owner is still recovering from a vicious rape but feels safe when surrounded by two men who served with her late husband on the Peninsula – two men she’s been in love with for quite some time. Shocked they feel the same toward her (and have a relationship with one another), her past nevertheless intrudes on them moving forward.

The holidays always come with bargains if you know where to look, and the A Naughty Little Christmas (Cowboys, Cops and Kilts) Bundle, featuring a smorgasbord of authors across genres (cowboy, romantic suspense, small town contemporary, paranormal, Highlander, etc.) is the ultimate bargain at $.99 for eight novellas. With authors like Paige Tyler, Ann Bruce and Dawn Halliday in this grouping, I’ve already got it sitting in my Kindle app to warm my holiday nights!

If you haven’t had a chance to run and buy The Theory of Attraction by erotic romance author Delphine Dryden, go run to Amazon and grab it while it’s free. With a slightly autistic scientist who happens to be a serious Dom (and definitely high on the hottie) scale and the next door neighbor who decides to help him get a promotion by being his girlfriend who can read departmental situations, this sexy nerd romance is simultaneously erotic and sweet. It would be worth paying full price for, but free? You don’t need a genius IQ to figure out that’s a bargain.

Countdown to Christmas: Three Erotic Romances Ready to Fill You with Holiday Heat in Red Hot Holiday

2 Dec

Red Hot Holiday edited by Angela James (Carina Press, December 3, 2012) – anthology with novellas by Anne Calhoun, K.A. Mitchell, and Leah Braemel                                                     ebook only, $6.79 for 262 pages

Carina has definitely got their holiday sweater and antlers on for the month of December (or in this case, their sexy holiday red underwear), turning out one great anthology after another. As usual, Angela James assembles three terrific erotic romance writers giving us a great value with her buffet of holiday treats.

Kudos to her for including a male/male romance in this grouping. I think there are a lot of female readers who would never try m/m romance, even if they have read about its growing popularity among heterosexual women, so if you’ve had reservations, this could be a nice way to sample the genre.

Right off the bat, the first thing I notice is the terrific cover. Not just your typical tangled bodies shot, this one has a sexy couple (the female model is actual biting her lip – mrrrroooww) and the lit red candle, in case you’re missing the overall symbolism! The ornaments and subtle holiday ribbon take the holiday theme home and it manages to be both simultaneously erotic and elegant.

Wish List” by K. A. Mitchell

Wish List by K. A. Mitchell (Carina Press, December 3, 2012) – $2.99 ebook if purchased singly

Jonas and Evan have been together for two years and things are going great until Jonas finds a set of wedding rings in Evan’s desk along with tickets to Manhattan for New Years’ Eve. The thought of spending the rest of his life with Evan sends Jonas unto a total panic attack as he has a bucket list of sexual to-do items, and at the top of his list is BDSM, which he’s always been drawn to but never tried. He even writes a sexual wishlist down while at Evan’s family’s house for Christmas, but can’t bring himself to tell Evan what he really wants. What if Evan looks at him in disgust, or worse, disappointment because he can’t give Jonas what he needs?

Evan finds Jonas’ list and cannot believe what he was reading. Evan left the BDSM lifestyle because he was possessive in relationships and realized the only way having a sub would work for him would be if there was an emotional connection. The idea of having that with Jonah, who Evan truly loves, is arousing beyond belief, but Jonah needs to tell him first what he wants.

I meant it when I said that this would be a great first male/male story for someone thinking about trying out the genre. Evan and Jonah are obviously in love and the sex between them is both hot and very emotional. I thought the lack of communication between them completely typical for two men and clearly they both need a lesson in talking about things rather than letting them fester. *choking both heroes slightly* The scenes in Evan’s family home for the holiday were especially well-written and I loved how Evan’s cousin’s breakup fueled Jonah’s emotional spiral.

The only piece I was really uncomfortable with was Jonah’s back and forth with the BDSM guy who posted on his online dating page. Yes, Evan addressed it and was pissed off about it, but Jonah never told him about the private messaging that had taken place and that felt creepy and cheating-ish to me. I know they were solid at the end of this story, so I’m just going to guess that he confessed all after the awesome New Year’s Eve sex since I really loved this story. Even the BDSM part was pretty mild and handled very well (I always sigh when it emerges in a story since it’s not something that interests me and it seems to be everywhere since Fifty Shades of Grey), with plenty of love and concern for the sub’s pleasure factored into the encounter. This is a terrific story on all levels and I’m going to enjoy reading more of K. A. Mitchell’s work now that I know she’s such an excellent writer.

I Need You for Christmas” by Leah Braemel

I Need You for Christmas by Leah Braemel (Carina Press, December 3, 2012) $2.99 ebook if purchased singly

Ryan and Megan have dated since college, but their relationship has been long-distance for a while now. Her dream was to become a Mountie while a car accident left him the guardian of his younger siblings who are finally ready to take flight. When Meg flies in from the arctic to spend the holiday with Ryan, she is ready to admire all his latest artwork. But they each have a surprise for the other for Christmas.

There is no way to read this wonderful novella and not think of O. Henry‘s “Gift of the Magi.” Ryan is a hunky sculptor, who welds and chisels, but he’s always wanted Meg in his life, even when circumstances were beyond their control and he’s made arrangements to leave his family and friends to move himself and his studio to the arctic to be with her. Meg has loved being a Mountie, but she knows in her heart that she’s lived her dream for a while and she can now transition to being a cop near Ryan so he can have his career and be near his family. Both are planning to spring the news on each other at Christmas, but there are people who are unhappy about the situation who try to spoil the surprise.

Braemel does a great job with this heart-warming erotic tale. The heat between Meg and Ryan is off the charts but it’s so grounded in a long-standing and abiding love that it ends up being extremely tender. The domination piece of their relationship is very mild, mostly just involving Meg being restrained, so even readers not 100% comfortable with a BDSM scene would not find this aspect of their relationship unpalatable. It was no worse than the Regency heroes and heroines using the ubiquitous silk scarf to tie their loved one to the bedpost! I’ve read a few Braemel stories and enjoyed them, but the talent she evinces in showing such grounded, lengthy relationship which still flares with passion has me thinking about buying a few more of her books.

Breath on Embers” by Anne Calhoun

Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun (Carina Press, December 3, 2012) $2.99 ebook if purchased singly

Thea Moretti moved to New York from Ohio to get away from painful memories. Her husband died in a car accident six years ago around Thanksgiving and ever since then she’s been dark and cold inside. Using loud music in her ears and divorcing herself from life has been a coping strategy, but almost a year ago she picked up an unbelievably sexy fireman for a sweaty anonymous encounter. It was so good that she and Ronan O’Rourke have made it a regular event, but now he’s hinting that he wants to get to know her better, that he might be ready for something more.

Ronan is an alpha male of infinite patience. He lost both his uncle in 9/11 and his best friend a couple of years ago, par for the course for a New York firefighter, but an extremely painful one, nevertheless. It means he knows all about grief, though, and he understands more than anyone what he sees in Thea’s shadowed eyes. She says she’s gone cold inside, but Ronan knows the truth. Thea is so busy tamping down feeling anything that she is deliberately not letting herself feel what already exists between them.

Ronan begins pushing the envelope, gently suggesting they go places and then reminding her of the connection between them with hot sex afterward. When Thea suggests a menage with his friend and fellow firefighter Tim, Ronan knows that she’s testing that she wouldn’t feel this way for someone else and he’s happy to go along. Will she be able to let go of her demons and finally embrace life again, life with Ronan?

In Angela James’ letter at the start of this anthology she makes a point that this is a highly emotional tale and it lives up to her description. Thea is filled with pain, fighting life with all she has lest the renewal of her living again dishonor the memory of the love she had for her husband. Ronan is the perfect man for her – understanding and patient – but naturally with his job she can imagine losing him somewhere down the road and it’s terrifying. His relentless and strategic assault, which was so carefully and respectfully done, held a brilliant understanding of what Thea was feeling. Not only was the sex fantastic between them, but I admired each of them – Thea never lies about what she wants their relationship to be (or that she’s struggling) and Ronan has too much respect for himself to hide the fact that he deserves more from Thea.

Red Hot Holiday as a whole impressed me, not for it’s amazing heat content which you’d expect from an erotic romance anthology, but for the sweet, emotional content of the writing. Each author does an amazing job demonstrating what love looks like at different stages – a two-year relationship in the case of Jonas and Evan, Ryan and Meg’s long-term relationship, and Thea and Ronan who are just moving from sex into something much deeper and more profound. This quality makes this the perfect anthology for the holidays as the miracle of Christmas is, at its heart, a profound act of love. Many thanks to K. A. Mitchell, Leah Braemel and Anne Calhoun for using their prodigious talent to help us feel that love which is at the center of a wonderful, and red hot, holiday.

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