Tag Archives: Harlequin Desire

Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Sunday, March 23, 2014

23 Mar

Sorry to have been away so long. We have a lot to catch up on!

Upcoming Books and New Releases

 Anyone who reads this blog knows my undying admiration for Nalini Singh, who has captivated me with both her amazing Guild Hunter series (for urban fantasy or angel fans) as well as the fabulous Psy-Changeling series, which features the SnowDancer Wolves and DarkRiver Leopards and the humans and Psy who interact with them as the world inches closer to a major change. Now Whisper of Sin, a terrific novella that is one of the prequels in the Psy-Changeling series, is available as a stand alone novella for only $2.99 as of late February. Previously only published in the Burning Up anthology (published in 2010 and containing a great novella from Meljean Brook from her Iron Seas steampunk series), this novella tells the story of high-ranked soldier Emmett and how he helps rescue a human in San Francisco’s Chinatown only to realize that she is his mate.

Bella Andre‘s Sullivan series fans will want to make sure that the latest volume of the Sullivans series, Just To Be With You, made it to their mailbox or ereader on March 5th (and if it didn’t, get on it!). Can you believe it’s the 12th book in this hit series? These Seattle Sullivans are just as compelling as their California cousins, with the jaded, successful CEO of Sullivan Investments, Ian Sullivan, about to fall for the gorgeous actress, Tatiana Landon. She’s been waiting for a strong love like this, but with Ian’s history of failed relationships, nothing is going to be easy about this happily ever after.

Donna Grant knows her Highlanders, which is probably one of the reasons she’s begun a new novella series, Rogues of Scotland (love the name). First up is The Craving, which came out on March 6th and features a woman who retreats to her family home in order to mend a betrayed heart, only to find a man trapped by a woman and a gypsy curse in a mirror. Trusting and loving the woman who finds him will take a leap of faith he’s not sure he can give, but it might be the only way to set them both free.

Historical romance writer Katharine Ashe just came out with her first book in a new (self-published?) Regency series, My Lady, My Lord, on March 10th and it looks wonderful. When an intelligent book reading lady is forced to give the time of day to her libertine neighbor, sparks are sure to fly, particularly since he adores torturing her as much as watching fast horses at the races. At only $2.99 for over 300 pages, Ashe fans have quite a bit to rub their hands in glee about.

Kit Rocha‘s unbelievably good erotic dystopian Beyond series finally added Beyond Jealousy this week, and weren’t we all waiting with baited breath? Tattoo artist and former gigilo Ace has wanted Rachel from the moment she left her comfortable, sheltered life and became an O’Kane to settle her father’s debt, but all he’s done is hurt her, especially after he became a couple with a man she had tried a relationship with, the resident hero and former special ops soldier, Cruz. Neither Cruz nor Ace have ever stopped loving Rachel so when the opportunity presents itself for all three of them to come together, the results are combustible, particularly in trying to work through everyone’s emotional baggage while a major turf war erupts in the sector.

We all know what a fangirl I am for anything written by Jennifer Ashley and I have big circles on my calendar for every installment of her Shifters Unbound series. Well, Feral Heat, Jace and Deni’s story, came out this week and it did NOT disappoint! This novella is right between the two full-length novels, Tiger Magic and the upcoming Wild Wolf (April 1st cannot get here soon enough), and is just as phenomenal as every other book in the series. It’s a hot, sexy love story that still manages to propel her fascinating story arc of the shifters attempting to discover how to rid themselves of the collars that keep them second class citizens. This author does not know how to write a mediocre book and I for one applaud her high standards!! Did I also mention this outstanding volume is only $1.99 and it’s not a short novella, but a meaty one equaling a lot of category romance novels. Great writing and an awesome value – I heart Jennifer Ashley!

Book seven of Eloisa James‘ Desperate Duchesses series will come out on March 25th, and Three Weeks With Lady X looks like a keeper. A bastard son of a duke needs to marry a woman with a serious reputation and he turns to Lady Xenobia India, an independent woman who quickly becomes the focus of his efforts. But this woman is no wallflower to go into a marriage of convenience, and the gentleman in question finds he must give everything to get everything if she’s to agree to his terms. Keep in mind if you pre-order this puppy and provide proof of your purchase with a picture of a receipt or a screenshot of your browser screen confirming your purchase, James is having a contest for a lucky reader to get special bonus content sent directly from her!

Also out on March 25th is the next book in Nora Roberts‘ latest trilogy, The Cousins O’Dwyer, Shadow Spell. This fantastic series has a strong paranormal story arc linking an Irish brother and sister and their American cousin to their long ago Irish ancestors. With evil sorcerers, plenty of magic and an abundance of animal familiars set in the Irish countryside, Roberts’ fans get to see this writer in her element once more. Don’t worry about having to wait too long for the final volume. The third book, Blood Magick, will be out on November 4th and is already available for pre-order.

March 25th is clearly a big day for romance, since Lori Foster’s next book in her Love Undercover series, Dash of Peril, also debuts. This series is outstanding, and I for one am eager to see construction business owner Dash help his brother’s frosty lieutenant take down nefarious human traffickers with a little heat on the side. Mrrrrooowww. If you haven’t yet indulged in this series, get your butt in gear as there are sexy alpha males galore as well as beautiful woman who inspire fierce protectiveness and love in the worst of circumstances. So good!!

It’s never too early to begin looking at the spring releases (and pre-ordering them to lock in great prices). Elle Kennedy has an addition to her Killer Instincts series coming down the pike on April 1st, and fans of “mercenaries with a heart” stories will want to take note of Midnight Pursuits. The fourth in this highly rated series has a rookie to the group assigned to assist a loner deep in Eastern Europe on a mission gone horribly wrong. While she usually has no use for working with someone, this former Marine has a skill set that she can definitely use…and the heat between them seems to have the added bonus of warming her cold heart.

In addition to the Cousin’s O’Dwyer paranormal novel mentioned above, Nora Roberts also has one of her romantic suspense novels, this one entitled The Collector, due out in hardcover on April 15th. When a professional apartment sitter is the sole witness to a heinous crime, the brother of the main suspect seeks her help as he knows his sibling could not possibly be responsible. The two are drawn closer as they come closer to discovering the actual perpetrator, hopefully before it’s too late.

Historical romance author Amanda Quick announced she will be publishing a stand alone novel, Otherwise Engaged on April 22nd, featuring her usual brand of bold heroine (this one a world traveler) who finds herself the target of a madmen obsessed by her name being linked to that of a gentleman scientist. That the man in question is also a spy for the crown thickens the plot and he has no intention of her reputation suffering – or of the fiery beauty getting hurt – due to his actions.

Paranormal doyenne Christine Feehan will be publishing the third book of her Sisters of the Heart series (a spin off grouping that takes place in the same town as the Drake Sisters books), Air Boundon May 27th. Each book focuses on one of six women who have come together as part of a special grief support group for women who have lost someone to violent crime. The heroine of this book not only suffered with her paranormal ability by growing up in a special government facility, but also recently lost her mother at the hands of a murderer. Kidnapped and aboard a ship, she finds herself at the mercy of an intriguing captor, one who intended to use her for his own purposes, only to find himself drawn to her instead.

Maya Banks‘ KGI series fans need to circle June 24th on their calendar as that is the publication date for the next novel in this wildly successful series, When Day Breaks. When a wounded and scarred Afghanistan veteran is assigned to protect a stunning model with a violent stalker, no one could have predicted that these two people would find something in common. But serious heat and attraction exists and neither party is about to let a murderous stalker get in the way.

The husband-and-wife writing team of Ilona Andrews have been blogging for months about a paranormal romance they have been working on for Avon Publishing – and the link is finally live! The official name is Burn For Me and it will be the first of their Hidden Legacy trilogy which the authors have confessed is more like a paranormal political thriller versus the paranormal heroic journey/police procedural of the Kate Daniels series (which is phenomenal). As the only thing I wish for in the Kate Daniels series is a little more sexy times between Kate and Curran, I was thrilled to hear that the heat level is a bit more “fan yourself” in this upcoming work. The only bad news? We’ll have to wait until October 28th for it to come out, but with the current ebook price at a mere $4.99 for almost 400 pages, it’s worth pre-ordering now in case the price raises a little closer to the fall.

Contests and Giveaways

Paranormal author Robin D. Owens is embarking on an urban fantasy series starring a woman who can see ghosts and the sheriff who finds himself drawn into her life, all with a Western setting. The aptly named Ghost Seer (series with the same name) is debuting on April 1st and from now until March 24th, you can enter a contest on Goodreads to win a copy of the book. With the second book due out in early September, fans of instant gratification won’t have long to wait to see how this storyline develops.

You can win a signed copy of the first book in historical romance writer Elizabeth Hoyt‘s Prince series, The Raven Prince, which came out in both in 2006 and then was reissued under a new (and gorgeous) cover in 2012. When a widow in dire financial straits is almost mowed down by a aristocrat in desperate need of a secretary, problems for everyone seem solved, except that the Earl’s newest secretary takes exception at his decision to visit a brothel to assuage his “manly” needs…and so she decides to be a mystery woman who will take care of his every wish, in and out of the study. Enter before March 31st to win your autographed copy!

Category romance fans who enjoy the secret baby trope will definitely want to put Andrea Laurence‘s His Lover’s Little Secret (a Harlequin Desire novel out on April 1st) on their to-read list. When a millionaire has a chance run in with the lover he never forgot, he can do the math and realizes her little son is his child – and he’s not about to let either of them go. But while the mother of his son might be willing to let him into their life, she’s not about to give into his bossy ways and let him into her heart again. Enter by March 31st for a chance to win a copy.

Fun Stuff

If you are looking for a fun activity for a bachelorette party or your best friends’ sleepover, look no further than Pornogami: A Guide to the Ancient Art of Paper-Folding for Adults. Actually written by a master of the art of origami, this guide takes a beginner through making fun looking spermatozoa all the way to a realistic vajayjay. Do I hear a drinking game coming out of this book? You bet I do.

Allison Yates at the Kinsey Confidential blog has an intriguing post about the recent startling mannequins which appeared in the American Apparel stores on Valentine’s Day who clearly were sporting bushy pubic hair amidst all their provocative underwear. The rubbernecking by passers-by was purportedly astonishing (and these are jaded New Yorkers we are talking about) but Yates dissects some fascinating trends and insights regarding our culture’s view of sexuality and body hair.

Librarian and romance lover Amy Alessio put up a wonderful article in honor of St. Patrick’s Day on the Romance University blog featuring some perennial favorite books featuring Ireland (or sexy Irish heroes and heroines). From J. D. Robb’s Roarke to Mary Jo Putney’s Irish setting in Sometimes a Rogue, she’s picked some winners worth reading.

I’m a big fan of the Etsy shop, Spunky Fluff, who produces amazing signs with heart-inspiring sayings to adorn your walls. Whether it’s “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You” or “Suck It Up Buttercup” these wall adornments always seem to contain heart and humor. With the majority of stock ranging between $40 to $60 and around 12 x 18 inches, these signs come in colors to match any decor and are truly unique items that will inspire a smile and a sigh each day.

Great Deals

There are a lot of good boxed sets and there are a LOT of “meh” boxed sets, but this one looks fabulous! Fated Mates: The Alpha Shifter Boxed Set offers readers twelve shifter books by authors such as Adriana Hunter, Georgette St. Clair and Eve Langlais among others – for only $.99! Just out on March 4th, the description page warns that the special price is for a limited time (and then it will go to $9.99, still a bargain) so get it at the special price while it lasts.

Carrie Ann Ryan has got a terrific book bundle for the first three books in her Dante’s Circle series, featuring paranormal creatures who find their future in the form of humans with a bit of the otherwordly in them. Usually these books go for $3.99 each, but you can get over 650 pages of the three novels together for only $2.99 right now. Yowza! Grab it before the fourth book, Tangled Innocence, comes out in April.

Tawny Weber‘s fun short, Rules of Engagement, is only $.99 and it’s a good example of the great brand of military hero you get when signing on board for a Weber romance. When a woman who has always crushed on her brother’s best friend finds herself being propositioned for hot sex in a moonlight garden she says, “yes!” knowing she’s not his type. While the hero has always steered clear of the feisty due to the sister card and the fact that she’s nothing like the petite, little woman types he’s preferred in the past, he’s a little astonished to discover what his “rules of engagement” have been designed to discover – the perfect woman for him – might have been all wrong all this time.

Six well-known romantic suspense authors – Elisabeth Naughton, Alexandra Ivy, Cynthia Eden, Laura Wright, Katie Reus, and Joan Swan – have banded together to produce the Sinful Seconds Boxed Set (meant to follow their other highly successful set, Wicked Firsts). Out on St. Patrick’s Day, you’re the one who will feel lucky reading quality books from these best-selling authors, it’s only $2.99 (and the preceding boxed set has been marked down to a mere $.99) so read the descriptions and see if these tempting novels should be in your ereader.

Fans of romantic suspense (particularly ones who enjoy the occasional paranormal element) will want to pre-order the great bargain, Dangerous Dozen Romantic Suspense Box Set while it’s only $.99 for twelve books by authors like Paige Tyler, Maureen Child, Tawny Weber, Nina Bruhns, and Charity Pineiro among others. Nothing like getting 3300 pages (no, that is not a typo) for this kind of bargain, right? Undercover cops, investigative reporters and determined shifters pepper these pages, but that price seems to have a deadline, so I plan on ordering this long before its April 7th release date and encourage you to do the same!

That’s it for this week. Happy reading! 🙂

A Beauty Uncovered by Andrea Laurence Delivers Compelling Romance in a Great Desire Package

12 Oct

A Beauty Uncovered (Secrets of Eden #2) by Andrea Laurence (Harlequin Desire, October 1, 2013)

When you pick up a Harlequin Desire novel you know exactly what you are going to get. Feisty, stunning heroines partnered with gagillionaires with strong alpha tendencies and enough baggage to open their own Samsonite store.

Unfortunately for me, I never had read an Andrea Laurence book prior to A Beauty Uncovered, and I’m glad I finally remedied that mistake. Laurence has mastered the classic approach to category romance – the above elements, minimal additional characters, and, in her case, a compelling story arc for her Secrets of Eden series.

Based around a group of now highly successful men and women who all had the same loving foster parents, this second book in the series focuses on reclusive billionaire Brody Eden. He’s handling the situation of his personal assistant wanting to head off on a two-month cruise to celebrate her fortieth wedding anniversary. Luckily for him, her goddaughter is ready to take over and sign the necessary confidentiality agreement. That she’s an utter bombshell comes as a shock to this horribly scarred man who has arranged his entire life to interact as little as possible with the world.

Undeniable Demands (Secrets of Eden #1) by Andrea Laurence (Harlequin Desire, January 1, 2013)

Samantha Davis is startled at not only the ridiculous level of security around her new boss but at how lonely this attractive, damaged man is. His megawatt smile is rare but she wants to see it more, and she readily admits to her attraction for him. But Sam has been burned in her prior job, when she succumbed to having an affair with her boss – who turned out to be married to the head of accounting who arranged for Sam to be promptly fired.

All the great elements of a Desire romance are present with great clothes, trips, jewelry, etc. but Brody has a lot less of the obnoxious alpha behavior than is usually found in this type of category romance. His emotional damage from the circumstances of his disfigurement are clearly communicated but not belabored. Sam had a poor experience but she’s a bright, intelligent, incredibly giving person who is exactly what Brody needs to begin to think about a future different from the life he is currently living.

The reasons to love Brody are numerous. He adores his golden retriever, is a great brother with very normal relationships with his family, and admits to a beautiful woman that he’s a virgin! While this is the second book in the series about the foster siblings, it is completely unnecessary to have read the first book to understand the larger story arc. This terrific romance has a great couple and just enough angst to provide conflict but not so much that you are completely wrung out reading the last page. I’ll be purchasing other Andrea Laurence books for sure after A Beauty Uncovered!

Catherine Mann Celebrates Sexy Prodigies with An Inconvenient Affair

24 Oct

An Inconvenient Affair (Alpha Brotherhood #1 – Troy and Hillary’s story) by Catherine Mann (Harlequin Desire, August 1, 2012)

Sometimes I’m browsing NetGalley to see what the various publishers are up to, and mostly I feel like I’m just skimming the book covers, reacting to the images. Every now and then, though, I catch a glimpse of an author I love and everything comes to a screeching halt as I fervently press the “Request” button and pray that I’ll get to take a look at their latest offering.

I almost broke my enter key when I spotted Catherine Mann‘s name!

And not just her name, but the fact that this book indicates a new series, one published under the Harlequin Desire line. You might remember that I adore her Elite Force series, since she writes with an amazing balance of compelling lead characters, great minor characters, and outstanding technical information that makes the plot oh-so-believable.

But how would she translate to category romance? Contemporary romance often crosses over into the category romance subgenre, which simply means that major publishers, like Harlequin and Mills & Boon, produce large numbers of shorter romance novels (this one is 190 pages), releasing a certain number of titles each month in given “categories” (like medical romance, etc.). I find myself very picky about who I read in category romance, simply because the brevity of the novels often means that the plot stays relatively superficial, with one main conflict, barely developed characters, and an unsatisfying ending.

My great news for you is that you don’t have to worry about those shortcomings with Catherine Mann. Yes, this novel is not as in depth as her other work, but in 190 pages (versus 347 pages for one of her Elite Force books), it’s understandable that we don’t have a ton of minor characters with their own plot lines and romances.

What we do enjoy are interesting, three-dimensional main characters wrestling with real issues while being swept out of their comfort zone in their reaction to one another. Troy Donovan was a hacker prodigy from rich, indolent parents and his devastating break into the Department of Defense computer system would have landed an older kid into a federal penitentiary. But Troy ends up instead in a tough military school run by the hard but fair Captain Salvatore, who doesn’t plan on letting him get away with anything. Finally finding friends among the brilliant and troubled kids in the school, Troy founds the “Alpha Brotherhood” with them, forming a club comprised of capable, damaged geniuses. As they age and meet with tremendous success financially, they are still called upon to do international spying and government work occasionally at the behest of the same former headmaster, Salvatore.

Hillary Wright is on a plane bound for Chicago to help the government identify the business partner of her former boyfriend, both of whom were responsible for embezzling thousands of dollars from scholarship funds. She’s sickened by both their behavior and her own gullibility – she thought she left the Vermont farm of her childhood long behind her, but it seems her trust in others has bit her in the butt. Again. When she feels attraction for her handsome and charming seat mate on the plane, she’s hesitant to do anything but talk, knowing how bad a judge of character she is. When he’s taken off the plane in handcuffs, she’s shocked at how nothing ever goes right for her and at the sudden recognition that the man with whom she felt such a strong connection was none other than millionaire software developer and playboy, Troy Donovan!

All or Nothing (Alpha Brotherhood #2 – Conrad and Jayne’s story) by Catherine Mann (Harlequin Desire, January 1, 2013)

But Troy outwitted Salvatore, who didn’t want Troy and Hillary to meet until the party, deliberately putting himself next to Hillary to gauge her personality. After reading her file, he had a feeling that she was an innocent in more need of protection than she was going to get and after feeling the heat between them and enjoying her refreshing skepticism and honesty, he knows he was right on the money. The handcuffs were merely a stunt for the bachelor auction for the Chicago party he and Hillary are both attending, but she feels additionally duped and lied to when she has the epiphany that Troy works for Salvatore as well and she is just a job to him. But as they trot all over the globe, falling deeper and deeper in love and lust with one another, both these damaged individuals realize they are in way over their head.

For such a brief number of pages, I was impressed at how Mann was able to compress so much character development into them. Troy’s home life is nothing short of child neglect and Hillary has run as fast as she could from her home in Vermont and from a mother in and out of rehab. Yet both are able to have close relationships – Troy with the “Alpha Brotherhood” and Hillary with her sister – so there is potential for them to love and care for another person. Mann does a good job of drawing a psychological profile, while regularly showing how Hillary can’t help being caring (no matter what her inner voice might be warning against) and Troy can’t help treasuring her and trying to make her happy. Their flaws are understandable and work well for the plot and conflict, and I found myself rooting for them to face their inner demons so they could be with each other already!

The Alpha Brotherhood series device was actually quite refreshing. Rather than the typical security company or brothers-in-arms, the idea of men who became friends while still extremely young and immature, bound together by the shared conditions of military school and their child prodigy status, is a terrific idea and one that lets Mann operate a little out of the box. We get a glimpse of Troy’s friends – Hughes, the economics genius turned Monte Carlo casino owner and the man known as “Mozart,” the music prodigy now a sexy cross between Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble. Both are also spies, and for Hughes, it destroyed his marriage, yet for each other, they’ll do anything.

With books this short, you basically fall in love a little with the protagonists (versus head over heels in love with the characters in Mann’s longer books) and sacrifice the fabulous technical details like those in the Elite Force series. Yet, at under $4 for the Kindle version of these books, they are a terrific value since they offer a wonderful escape to a jet-setting world (it is Harlequin, after all) with flawed heroes and heroines who nevertheless deserve to be loved.

The next book, to be published January 1st (see above book cover), is to feature Conrad Hughes and his estranged wife, Jayne, and I’m guessing that Playing for Keeps, listed on the series page on Goodreads as due out in April, will be Mozart’s love story. I’ve already pre-ordered Hughes’ book and am looking forward to enjoying the rest of the Alpha Brotherhood. Thanks, Catherine, for giving us these sexy prodigies to fall for!

%d bloggers like this: