Tag Archives: Janet Evanovich

Don’t Miss It! New Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of May 11, 2014

11 May

New and Upcoming Books

I’m a big fan of romantic suspense a la Lori Foster, so in case there are readers out there who have not yet read her Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series, you’re in luck, as Foster just released all of them in a book bundle for $9.39, a great price for four full-length novels and a novella. This series is outstanding, focusing on a group of men with various military/law enforcement backgrounds who work together on their own to fight human trafficking. Foster’s research is excellent, but her ability to write protective, hot alpha men and the feisty women who bring them to their knees is unbelievable.

The third book in Rebecca Zanetti‘s excellent Sin Brothers series is out and the ebook version is only $2.99, so fans will want to leap on this while the getting is good! Focusing on a group of enhanced warriors who were cruelly raised to kill as children, the paranormal operatives are now on the run and trying to find out the details of their creation by attempting to evade the authorities while hunting down the scientists responsible for their abilities. In the third book, Blind Faith, Nate Dean loved the chief scientist’s daughter Audrey when he lived in the compound and while he always maintained her innocence in any wrongdoing, all the soldiers had their doubts. Now he must go the woman who broke his heart years ago and ask for her help in saving his chosen family, risking their safety and his emotions once more.

Considering how much I enjoyed Tawna Fenske’s novella, Eat, Play, Lustand her laugh aloud, sexy novel, Marine for Hire, I can’t wait to tackle her latest novel, Frisky Business, which just came out this past week. Marley is surrounded by rich, bossy men and she’s had enough. She’ll schmooze with the donors because that’s her job, but from now on, isn’t only working class guys with dirt under their nails for this jaded woman. Naturally she butts heads with her new boss, eccentric millionaire William Barclay the Fifth, whose questionable fashion choices, attending dog pack and strong opinions about she does her job makes her crazy. But when their charity is put in danger, the two of them realize not only they are playing for the same team but that their friction has been hinting at some serious chemistry…if they can put aside past prejudices to embrace what is right in front of them.

Contemporary romance fans know the value of Lauren Dane‘s Petal, Georgia collection, a spin off from her Chase Brothers (*fanning myself*) series. Set in the same small, southern town, the women of Petal are hot and the men determined, which make for a pretty unbeatable combination. In Count on Me, the third book of the series due out on June 10th, Dane once again explores the challenges of a romance that involves at least one person from the wrong side of the tracks, as lawyer Caroline Mendoza returns home to find out if her father really did kill her mother sixteen years ago. Organic farmer Royal Watson is busy with his business but cannot resist this smart, sexy woman, who quickly discovers he’s a naughty alpha male in disguise. But with the real killer nervous as she digs deeper, Caroline and Royal may not have a lot of time to enjoy their new feelings before someone threatens to put an end to it.

June 17th will mark the publishing of Janet Evanovich‘s twenty-first full-length Stephanie Plum novel, Top Secret Twenty-One, with that characters usual antics amidst a mystery and the two men who hold her heart. In this installment, feral chihuahuas, assassins and our favorite bounty hunter attempt to figure out the location of a missing used car dealer who skipped bail while also helping Ranger who is getting some murderous attention (and Stephanie’s help uncovers more about Ranger’s mysterious past). I’ll be teasing my hair and getting my gum ready to crack in anticipation!

Yes, I realize that October 28th is a long way away, but Nalini Singh fans don’t care (or we care more than other people), when that date houses the debut of the seventh Guild Hunter novel, Archangel’s Shadows. I am head over heels in love with this series, and the powerful archangel Raphael and his lover, vampire hunter turned angel Elena, are the main reason, but the secondary characters are fantastic and one of the best parts about Singh is that she periodically showcases them in novellas and full-length novels. In the last book, Archangel’s Legion, Raphael and Elena barely survived a war, managing to save the vast majority of the humans and vampires in their territory of New York, but the threat to them has not diminished as much as they would like. In this novel, an insane enemy means that Raphael must call upon one of Elena’s friends, fellow Guild Hunter, Ash, and the sexy Cajun vampire, Janvier, who is both her nemesis and her obsession. Working together, the two of them must track and take down a person of such power that their survival is in question, but the two of them discover something worth fighting for between them that will hopefully tip the balance in their favor. BRING. IT. ON.

October 28th is going to be a banner day (please note that I feel a terrible flu coming on October 27th) as the husband and wife team of Ilona Andrews also has the first in their new Hidden Legacy series debuting, Burn for Me, via Avon Publishing. Considering that I worship every page of their Kate Daniels series (I just reread the whole thing, including novellas and extras, last week) and their Clean Sweep novel blew me away with it’s originality, I’ve been excited about this series since they began discussing the project on their blog. Set in a hierarchical world of magic users, the book’s heroine, detective Nevada Baylor, is swept up in a deadly game that forces her to be an unlikely ally with the powerful billionaire Connor “Mad” Rogan, whose power is only superceded by his allure. I’m beginning to fan myself and I haven’t even seen the heat between them yet. Thank heavens the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cool fall season – I’m going to need it!

Contests and Giveaways

Cindy Dees is known for her deft rendering of romantic suspense tales, probably due to the fact that she’s a former military pilot and no stranger to intelligence work. Loving her authentic voice, my ears perked up when I heard there was a Goodreads giveaway for her latest book, Close Pursuit. Katie McCloud agrees to travel to the mideast with Dr. Alex Peters, a Doctors Unlimited volunteer specializing in women in childbirth. She’s an excellent translator and with brothers in Special Forces, no stranger to keeping her eyes and ears open to look for danger. Recognizing that the drones she’s spotting means that things are not safe for them, particularly after they lose a mother in surgery, Katie wonders if the handsome doctor is hiding any secrets. Alex, the son of a Soviet spy, hates his father’s profession but has to reluctantly call him for an airlift out of the country, but even a return to the U. S. doesn’t take either him or Katie out of the crosshairs of whoever wants to silence them, throwing these two people together in an adventure that reveals there is more between them than a shared enemy. Enter before May 15th for your chance to win!

Despite it’s questionable cover (be careful with that rose, milord!), Eliza Lloyd‘s erotic historical romances are popular for a reason, so the fact that she’s giving away a copy of the third book in her Wicked Affairs series (in time for the RT Booklovers’ Convention in New Orleans next week) is cause for celebration. Wicked Lord contains a sensual, talented heroine who is happy to pursue her art and dream of being a good wife to the Baron to whom she’s betrothed. When her father changes his mind and gives her to rakish Lord Redding instead she’s honor-bound to marry him. Edward Chase, Lord Redding, was delighted to steal the fiancee of his rival, but realizes quickly that’s he won much more in his talented, innocent wife. Determined to seduce her into forgetting the man she thought she loved, he employs all his erotic talents to the point that his lovely and sated bride has to ask herself if she loves her husband or merely their bedsport. Enter before May 14th to win a copy.

If firefighters are good, smoke jumpers are better based on how many authors are putting out excellent books about the men and women who battle wildfires (Nora Roberts and M. L. Buchman are just a few). Anne Marsh‘s Smoke Jumpers series is going strong with great reviews so it was awesome to find the fifth book in her series, Sweet Burn, due out on May 30th, being featured in a Goodreads giveaway. When the town’s bartender and resident bad girl, Mimi, has a wedding hook up with former Special Forces soldier, Mack, they are lucky the sheets don’t catch on fire. But she’s not the person to be sweetly courted and he’s not a man who is going to give up after finally finding the place – and woman – who helps him confront his demons. Enter before May 15th to see if you can snag a copy (and note that the fourth book in the series, Smoking Hot, is available in the below

Fun Stuff

If you’re already planning your summer reads, take a look at Harlequin’s brilliant flow chart to help you discover the book(s) perfect for your beach bag. Several of my favorites are on there and now I have more to discover!

Tea and books have always gone together, as has the desire for peace and quiet while you’re enjoying your favorite romance, so Oxford University’s Bodelian Library’s gift shop has the perfect teapot, emblazoned with the reminder “Silence Please” for just those times. Matching cups, a creamer pitcher and sugar bowl, can complete the set if you choose, but just the teapot is £40.00, about $67 U. S. dollars. 

The next time you are sandwiched flying coach as a four year old kicks your seat and a stranger spills peanuts in your lap, give yourself a mental fantasy vacation flight by thinking about Etihad Airways’ incredible airbus, complete with suites containing real beds, full private bathrooms with showers and big screen televisions.

Want to show your literary side proudly? Consider doing it with your next manicure! Espionage Cosmetics offers “Literary” nail wraps that are book excerpts. These are super thin stickers with nail lacquer on top made of high quality and without a ton of yucky chemicals like so many of the novelty nail decorations out there. Espionage even has a terrific tutorial on their website to walk you through how you can make them look amazing (honestly, it looks easier than painting your nails with your non-dominant hand!). Talk about a conversation starter as you are sipping your latte in that cute coffeehouse and a sexy man walks up to ask you what you are reading…oh, wait. I think I slipped into a book again. 🙂

Great Deals

Hmm…Red Hot Chance is a sexy short story by K.T. Grant set in Las Vegas (and we know how that city affects people!). Brian’s returned home to Sin City to attend his best friend’s engagement party and to help his sick father despite their estrangement. When said best friend asks him to take out his fiancee’s boss, Brian’s wondering how much worse this trip home can get, that is until he catches a glimpse of the beautiful Diane. Diane’s not been much for dating since her fiancee’s death, but her best friend convinces her in can’t hurt to just talk to the date she’s arranged. When sparks fly and kissing ensues, Diane’s guilt at feeling something for someone other than the man she loved and lost causes her to run…but this time someone is running after her, and he’s not accepting no for an answer. Currently available for free on Amazon.

Maggie Shayne has a ton of fans and her books regularly hit the best-seller list, so I feel rather guilty about not having read that much of her work. Luckily for me, the three books that make up her Immortal Witch series are now available as an ebook bundle entitled Eternal Love, available for only $.99, pretty awesome for about 600 pages! These books each focus on one woman who was pursued by dark forces when she was a witch in the past, only to find those same forces bent on her destruction in the present day. Considering that each witch has a lover from the past determined to help them survive makes this books a blend of historical and contemporary with a healthy dash of paranormal. Sold!

Where would we be without ebook bundles? I’d certainly have not discovered some great authors, hence my devotion to them. The Beyond Desire Collection: (A Limited Edition Boxed Set of Alpha Males, Badboys and Billionaire Romance Novels) is 1500 pages of exactly what it’s title promises, with authors I admire like Roxie Rivera, Deanna Chase and Marie Hall among others. Take a look now since I’m not sure when the $.99 price tag is going to expire.

Come Away With Me by Kristen Proby (the first book in her insanely popular With Me In Seattle series) is currently free on Amazon right now, so readers will definitely want to download it and same this author’s writing. When Natalie Connor is doing what soothes her scarred soul, taking morning photographs on the beach, she’s startled at why the good-looking man walking in the sand flips out and accuses her of deliberately taking his picture. Luke Williams quickly realizes that the stunning woman with a camera really has no idea who he is, and therefore has no idea of why he’s so tired of being on the wrong side of a telephoto lens. Rather than enlighten her, he decides to get to know a woman just as himself…and quickly realizes his fallen hard for this ethereal beauty. But when Natalie, who has reason to despise lies, finds out about his deception, photographs might be the only thing he’s left with.

Another ebook bundle that looks tempting is exactly what a romance reader needs for Memorial Day weekend by the pool. SEALS of Summer: Military Romance Superbundle contains ten novels and novellas by authors such as Delilah Devlin, Sharon Hamilton, Anne Marsh, and Roxie Rivera (again!). I have an entire Kindle collection dedicated to military romance so this anthology is going to live quite happily in there after I’ve devoured it. Did I mention it’s only $.99 right now? Uh-huh. Show your patriotism by grabbing this bargain while you can.

Historical romance readers will want to check out Kasey Michaels second book of her The Redgraves series, which focuses on a aristocratic family determined to unearth their possibly tainted past. In What a Lady Needs, Lady Katherine Redgrave and her brother are given the task of finding her father’s journals in the hope that they will reveal more about the traitorous conspiracy endangering her family. Simon Ravenbill, a Marquis, also wants to find those journals in order to find out the truth about his brother’s murder, so he allies himself with the beautiful Lady Katherine in the hope that seducing her will distract her enough that he can get to the journals first. The only problem is that what starts as a clever strategy rapidly becomes something much more as he falls for this independent beauty, one who may just run when secrets are revealed. Doesn’t that sound great? And it’s only $.99 right now for the ebook at Amazon.

Biker romances are hot (I guess it’s the throbbing machine between their legs) and readers who’d like to dip into this phenomenon may want to take a look at Riding Desire: Alpha Bad Boy Boxed Set which has collated 14 stories from various authors into 1200 pages of fan yourself goodness. With such authors in the lineup as Opal Carew, Sarah Castille, Lauren Hawkeye, Eden Bradley, R. G. Alexander and Mari Carr, this compilation definitely errs on the erotic side (yay!) with a few menage stories and hot and dirty sex to accompany the romance in every title. The price tag of $2.99 seems a lot cheaper than a Harley to me, so take a ride on the wild side.

Stacey Kennedy‘s erotic Club Sin series is incredibly popular among erotic romance readers and now interested fans have the chance to pick up the second book, Bared, for only $.99. Filled with the BDSM sex and roiling emotion she’s known for, this installment has a Master, Aidan Knight, who is renowned for uncover the hidden desires of his submissives in the Las Vegas club. His ability to read people has him fascinated with Cora Adams, a woman who has come to the club to escape her heartbreak. As a kindred damaged spirit, he recognizes that she’s keeping secrets, and determines to use all his talents to bring her emotions to the surface in the hope that by doing so he can heal and free them both.

Amazingly, the super sexy bundle, Bring On the Heat: Romance Box Set (Bad Boys and Alphas and Handcuffs, Oh my!) is still only $.99, so I’m jumping on this deal and riding it home. With BDSM, menage, naughty cowboy and dark shifter stories from ten best-selling authors, including Stephanie Julian, Ann Mayburn, Cassandra Carr, Eden Bradley and Cari Quinn, this set is sure to do exactly what its title promises!

Happy reading everyone. 🙂

Pets Make Authors Human: A Pictorial Reflection on Animals, Romance, and Writing

28 Nov

Dean Koontz with his golden retriever – yes, I’m going to admit that I bought my first Koontz book because he always has his golden in the author photo!

It’s Thanksgiving, and if there’s one part of my life I give tremendous thanks for beyond the human members of my family, it’s the four-legged creatures who fill my life with joy and laughter. Following so many author blogs and the Facebook pages of writers I admire, I can’t help but notice just how many people post regular photos and updates of their pets…and how many comments and likes they get when they do.

My Romance Writers of America chapter (go Pocono-Lehigh Romance Writers!!!) recently had the fabulous Caridad Pinerio give an incredibly informative workshop on social media for authors. One point she mentioned was that recipes and pets (with accompanying photos) are pure gold when it comes to social media. Considering what I stop to read I completely believe her, but it made me wonder, what is it about authors and their pets that we find so appealing?

Ernest Hemingway and one of his many cats

I imagine that it’s a combination of shared experience and humanization. We have something in common with even a famous writer like Lord Byron (who wrote the most heartfelt poem to his Newfoundland Dog Boatswain who he buried with a headstone that exceeds Byron’s in size) or Mark Twain. Ernest Hemingway may have been a misogynist, but I bet he had to clean up something heinous his six-toed cats horked up around his house at some point, right? So he and I would theoretically have a conversation starter if we ever met on a distant plain (and I could steer away from the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of his writing).

It’s very easy for me to believe Janet Evanovich invented the successful Stephanie Plum series when I see this shot. Anyone with such a smiley St. Bernard has to have a terrific sense of humor!

There is also the nature of writing – it’s lonely. You usually do it all by yourself, in some cramped, cluttered corner of your house while the humans around you steer clear because you are a) overcaffeinated, b) talking to people who don’t exist (i.e., your characters) and/or c) haven’t bothered to shower because you are headed to a deadline. You know who doesn’t care? Your pet. Your cat selfishly feels you are a terrific source of heat and food as you snack at your desk and your dog simply loves you so much that he or she is willing to drape themselves on your feet and let their bladder the size of Montana fill until you realize it’s been 11 hours since you’ve taken them outside to pee. You do not get that kind of devotion from a person (okay, rarely you do), which could explain writers’ propensity for animal fandom.

Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice Toklas with their poodle. Every pet owner looking at this photo just exclaimed, "A white carpet! Seriously?!"

Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas with their poodle. Every pet owner looking at this photo just exclaimed, “A white carpet! Seriously?!”

I definitely think that authors like Dean Koontz (who actually has given his late golden Trixie her own webpage while celebrating his current golden, Anna) and Janet Evanovich are onto something when it comes time for the author photo. Having a pet in the shot not only differentiates you from the pack, but instantly sends the message, “Oh, wow, this person is an approachable, nice human being” because let’s face it, animals usually only like nice people and are able to detect when some bitchy person carries a whiff of sulphur still lingering from their portal to hell transportation. In Midge Raymond’s “Tips for the Author Photo” article, Raymond emphasizes the importance of maintaining a natural look and that includes your facial expression. It’s virtually impossible to have a pet in the shot with you and not look natural, because you are busy worrying that your dog or cat is going to pee on a light or start barking at a shadow and embarrass you, rather than about how fat your upper arms might look or if you are getting a weird shadow that’s going to make you resemble Winston Churchill when you want the cool J. R. Ward badass vibe (which you probably won’t get unless you have a cool cat in the shot, like a panther).

Don’t let the gigantic dog in the center have you ignore the little King Charles spaniel in the right hand corner – both dogs carry the symbolism of wealth and protection in Anthony Van Dyck‘s Five Children of King Charles I (1637) in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Let’s not forget that the presence of animals in a portrait has always meant something (other than announcing you carry a powerful lint brush in your purse everywhere you go). In the 17th to 19th centuries, animals in a portrait, usually dogs, often indicated that the person or persons in the portrait were worthy of admiration and loyalty, or the breed of animal hinted at the intellectual refinement or wealth of the subject. One of my favorite portraits involving a dog is Anthony Van Dyck’s portrait, Five Children of King Charles I which you can visit in all its splendor in the National Portrait Gallery in London. The gigantic dog being used as an armrest by the future Charles II of England is probably an early variety of Mastiff and the bitty poindexter in the lower right hand corner looking at the chubby (and seriously underdressed) Princess Anne is an early King Charles Spaniel. Mastiffs were frequently owned by the aristocracy for protection, and the King Charles Spaniel was actually named for the young Charles pictured here since he loved toy spaniels, including the one that would eventually carry his name.

Love Bites anthology with stories by Lori Foster, Brenda Jackson, Virna DePaul, Catherine Mann and Jules Bennett (Harlequin, February 2013)

Luckily for us, we no longer look for the deep symbolism when someone takes either a formal portrait immortalizing their puppy or a selfie with their ginormous cat, but readers are still fascinated by the relationship of pets and authors. In the world of romance, we are fortunate to not just have authors who write in terrific animal characters into their books (Laura Kaye’s fabulous three-legged puppy in Hard As It Gets comes to mind, as well as all the animal characters of Jill Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism series), but who actually advocate for them. Lori Foster, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Brenda Jackson, Catherine Mann, Virna DePaulJill Shalvis, Kate Angell, Jacquelyn Frank, and Lisa Jackson are just a few of the authors who come to mind to heighten awareness of animal causes and who even create anthologies where the proceeds go to animal charities.

I’ll leave you with the poem Lord Byron wrote for his Newfoundland’s gravestone since it summarizes a lot of the relationship we have with our pets. Maybe you’d even consider making a donation to your local animal shelter in honor of your favorite romance author – I’m sure they’d be thrilled to hear about that kind of fan appreciation! Whatever your thoughts on how to honor the animals who inspire you – whether they live in your home or are online – let’s all consider ourselves fortunate to have these wonderful giving creatures in our lives and in our imaginations.

Epitaph to A Dog

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.
This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG,
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18, 1808.

For more great pictures of writers and their pets I’d recommend the following articles:

“Animal Muses: The Pets Of Famous Writers And Artists” by Alice E. Vincent from The Huffington Post UK (June 25, 2012)

“Portraits of Writers With Pets: The Humanizing Animal Connection” by Emily Temple from The Atlantic (November 28, 2012)

“Literary Pets: The Cats, Dogs, and Birds Famous Authors Loved” by Maria Popova from Brain Pickings (April 29, 2013)

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of November 24, 2013

24 Nov

Upcoming Books and New Releases

Lots of good books both coming out this week as well as long awaited books with release dates announced.

I think Tessa Bailey is one of contemporary romance’s hottest new writers, so I’m excited to stay up until midnight tonight to watch the next book in her awesome Line of Duty series delivered to my Kindle (and write a review for you to be posted on Monday). We’ve already met the hero and heroine in the third book in the series, Officer Off Limits. Since Brent and Hayden’s two best friends are head over heels in love they can’t help seeing a lot of each other, even though each rubs the other the wrong way. Hayden’s got a host of trouble coming from her Park Avenue family who are looking to have her get married to a rich and influential man and the rough and tumble cop who pushes her buttons is also um…pushing her buttons. After a taste of each other, Brent is determined to not let go, but Hayden wonders how on earth this hot affair could have a happy ending?

Don’t you remember my telling you what a phenomenal author Laura Kaye is? Her latest, Hard As It Gets (OMG, the cover!), begins her Hard Ink series as of Tuesday, November 26th, so I’ll be staying up late for this delivery as well. This story, featuring a former military man turned tattoo parlor owner and the daughter of his military commander who has always been off limits, is bound to have her usual blend of heat, great characters, and an emotional story that wins your heart.

Fans of historical romance know that Sarah Maclean is one of the most talented writers of her genre, and they can finally sit back and enjoy her latest book, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, which will also be published on Tuesday, November 26th. Don’t forget to read (or re-read) the first two books in the Rules of Scoundrels series as this story, featuring the enigmatic club owner Temple, accused of murdering his young beautiful stepmother on the eve of her wedding to his father. The supposedly dead Mara has returned and what sets out to be Temple’s redemption and revenge becomes much more as he realizes that this woman and her situation is far from what he has imagined.

Bella Andre announced the latest in her Sullivan series, It Must Be Your Love, Mia Sullivan’s story. The Sullivan series is (I think) one of the best family contemporary romance series on the market, and the Northwest cousins are proving just as compelling as the original California Sullivans we all initially fell for. Successful realtor Mia Sullivan has been a huge support in her cousin and siblings’ romances, but it’s time for her to face the music – namely the man who she spent a few short days and nights with in his bed, and who she’s never been able to forget. Bumping into rock star Ford Vincent isn’t a shock at her cousin’s wedding, but there is an element of surprise when he seems interested in renewing their sexual relationship. Ford has never been able to forget Mia and despite the fact that he imagines she’s the one thing his fame can’t give him, he feels like he has to try.

It’s the holiday book season and that means there are some great deals on anthologies by terrific authors. A Christmas to Remember, due out on December 3rd, features stories by such contemporary best-sellers as Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon, and Marilyn Pappano. If that’s not tempting enough, Forever Yours publishing has priced this puppy at only $1.99, so pick it up while you can at this price!

For fans of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet EvanovichTakedown Twenty, was published just a few days ago on November 19th, so get a hilarious dose of Lula and Bob (the golden retriever) right now. Get ready to imagine the next demise of a vehicle driven by Stephanie as she attempts to track down Morelli’s mobster godfather so he doesn’t have to, while also helping the oh-so-sexy Ranger determine who killed an important client’s mother. If you need to do some catching up (or want to fill in your collection of ebooks), you may want to note that several of the earlier books in the series are available for only $2.99 for the ebook editions.

Sophie Barnes‘ next book The Scandal in Kissing an Heir, her second installment in At the Kingsborough Ball series is coming out on December 31st. The next Marquess of Wolvington, Daniel Neville needs to find not only a bride but a woman who will accept his past and Lady Rebecca is tired of the men her greedy aunt and uncle send her way, men who only are interested in her beauty. Scandal threatens to tear these two apart, just when it seems they have the potential for something more.

Contests and Giveaways

Sara Humphreys‘ Amoveo Legends series is made up of a string of best-sellers, so I imagine fans are waiting with bated breath for the fifth book in the series, Unclaimed, to come out on December 3rd. When a spirited veternarian from the Timber Wolf clan reluctantly agrees to help doctor the Amoveo prince’s horses, she doesn’t expect the overwhelming attraction to a warrior from the Tiger Clan, but soon finds herself thrown together with him as they have to face danger together. Enter before November 30th to see if you can win a copy.

Talented debut author Kat Latham, of Knowing the Score fame, is having a Rafflecopter giveaway for not just her new Christmas story, contained in the All I’m Asking For Christmas anthology (pre-ordered!!), but also the other Carina Press contemporary holiday anthology, For My Own. Since I’ve yet to read a Carina anthology I haven’t enjoyed, these are both on my December reading (and reviewing) list, but winning them would make great gifts to the romance fiction lovers in my life. Enter before December 1st to see if you can’t win a copy and enjoy great writing with your holiday cheer.

The first in Lara Adrian‘s Midnight Breeds series, A Touch of Midnight, is currently a giveaway on Goodreads, so enter before November 30th for a chance to win. This 184 page novella jumpstarts the other thirteen books to date in the series by focusing on Savannah, a young college woman who can see the past of objects when she touches them. For a three-hundred year old vampire who must revisit painful memories of the past, Gideon finds himself needing Savannah to help him rid the world of a threat he didn’t even realize existed, even if it means shattering the world she knows. If you were smart enough to purchase The Midnight Breeds Series Companion this summer, then this novella is included within it, but otherwise, try to win or buy it on Amazon for only $2.99.

The Smutketeers & Friends (Jayne Rylon, Mari Carr, Carrie Ann Ryan, R. G. Alexander, Eden Bradley, Sidney Bristol, P. G. Forte, and Robin Rotham) have FINALLY released their long-awaited Midnight Ink box set, filled with erotic tales all centered around a New Orleans tattoo shop, and they are having a great $100 Amazon gift card giveaway to celebrate. Enter in the next week to see if you can win this wonderful prize and don’t forget to run to your nearest bookseller to buy the boxed set, which is currently only $.99 at Amazon for over 550 pages of hot romance.

Historical fiction fans light candles to Diana Gabaldon‘s image, as this author of the Outlander series has had thousands of readers fall for Claire and Jamie Fraser. In honor of the upcoming STARZ network release of Outlander as a series, two promotional copies are destined for a lucky winner of the Goodreads giveaway, so considering entering prior to November 30th if you are awaiting heartache, time-travel and kilts with baited breath.

I don’t know what it is about publishing during the holidays, but there always seems to be a few books which focus on the season and feature some adorable dogs and cats on the covers of these anthologies and stand-alones. Since my fur-covered family members are some of things in my life I’m most grateful for, these novels always hit home with me. Two such authors are Sharon Kleve and Jennifer Conner, who are currently hosting a blog tour contest where readers can enter to win copies of their books – Halo’s Wish, Brenda’s Christmas Desire, Central Bark at Christmas, and Christmas Gift that Keeps Wagging – as well as a $25 gift card, so take a look and see if someone small and furry is underneath your tree this Christmas. Head to any and all of the blogs on the tour before 11/30 for your chance to enter!

Elizabeth Hoyt’s tale of a fevered heir to an Earldom, returned from the dead, is the fourth in her Legend of the Four Soldiers series. To Desire a Devil pitches the savage man, demented from his captivity and the well-bred niece of the present (and highly suspicious Earl) as an unlikely couple, but historical romance readers can attempt to win a copy of this highly rated final book via the Goodreads giveaway closing on December 1st.

It’s always great to see historical romance that tackles a less-frequented period of time, so Bitter Spirits by paranormal/urban fantasy writer Jenn Bennett is worth a look for those readers who love the 1920s. Featuring a hexed bootlegger and a beautiful medium, this first installment in Bennett’s Roaring Twenties series is currently being offered in a Goodreads giveaway for people who enter before Saturday, November 30th. Considering this novel is not due to be published until early January 2014, this could be a great opportunity to get a preview, and the second novel, focusing on an archaeologist and museum curator looks to equally bring the period to life. Since the series is published by the Berkley Sensation line, I predict strong writing and hot love scenes to be contained within these covers. Bring it on!

Fun Stuff

I know you can tell I’ve got holiday books on the brain (I’m gearing up for my stretch where I try to review a holiday themed book for every day of December!) but I for one appreciated Harlequin’s adorable little video featuring some of their featured Christmas books for this year. You’ll definitely be seeing a few of these on this blog over the next few weeks (and who knew Gingerbread men as the various hero’s occupations would be so adorable?).

If you have a spare $1000 or so and love to show your book love via your shoes, I suggest you head straight to the Charlotte Olympia website and check out the Matilda shoes, part of the Fall 2013 collection. With stunning leather tooling covering the leather upper and a six inch heel (and one inch platform), the heels are designed to look like book spines, complete with the words “Once Upon a Time” and “Happily Ever After”. I think there are plenty of romance authors who would look great wearing these on the dais while answering panel questions!

Now that the weather is getting colder, women are interpreting “no shave November” with the advent of opaque tights, but you don’t have to settle for solid colors. Romantics and fashionistas (or fictionistas) alike can indulge their love of the written word by wearing Love Text Print Tights from TrendyLegs. For under $40, you can sport the wikipedia text for the definitions of “Love” and “Passion” around your thighs and calves (and think about who you might like to get closer and read it out loud to you)!

Great Deals

Historical fans might want to download Harlequin Historical’s An Inconvenient Duchess by Christine Merrill as it’s available for free right now. Featuring a young woman compromised and married to an enigmatic duke who then promptly abandons her, this heroine determines that she is going to make this marriage work, no matter what. The first in Merrill’s The Radwell’s series, this is a good way to sample this series.

His Wicked Games by Ember Casey (the first book in His Wicked Games series) is also available for free right now, and readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings will want to tackle this Beauty and the Beast inspired story. When a woman determined to save her arts center breaks into a cold billionaire’s estate, she gets way more than she bargained for, particularly regarding his wager on how she can save what she wants more than anything. The only problem? When what she wants begins to change…

Also currently free is Mari Carr and Lexxie Couper‘s Misplaced Princess, the first in their Foreign Affairs series about men or women who leave their country and find the love of their life. Annie Prince impetuously flew halfway around the world to Australia to meet in person a sexy cowboy she met online…only to find out he did the same thing and is now in NYC. Fortunately for her, his twin brother Hunter stayed behind, and while he thought his brother was crazy, one look at Annie and he’s finding it hard to keep his hands (and other body parts) off her.

That’s it for this week. Have a terrific Thanksgiving and happy reading!!

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week Ending August 4th

4 Aug

Upcoming Books

For fans of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, the next book, Takedown Twenty, will be available as of November 19th, so pre-order your hilarious dose of Lula and Bob (the golden retriever) right now. Get ready to imagine the next demise of a vehicle driven by Stephanie as she attempts to track down Morelli’s mobster godfather so he doesn’t have to, while also helping the oh-so-sexy Ranger determine who killed an important client’s mother.

FYI, I mentioned the other week that Jaci Burton was coming out with a new series and the first book, Hope Flames, was going to out this fall. She just announced on her website that the publisher moved the date out to January 7, 2014 *shakes fist* because they think it will be more successful in that time slot. Far be it from me to deny success to Jaci Burton, but one solace was the publisher will be offering 200 copies of the book to random readers in November. A new novella, Holiday Games, for the Play-by-Play series will also be out by November 19th, starring none other than hot baseball player Gavin Riley and his favorite agent and wife, Elizabeth, as they reflect on a year of trying to unsuccessfully make a baby. Their full story can be found in the second book of the series, Changing the Game, and visiting with the Riley clan, particularly during a holiday, is always worthwhile. I think I’ll review this novella for my December holiday-themed posts. 🙂

Fun Stuff

It’s easy to forget all the great people in the world of romance who spread the word about how awesome our genre really is. One of them is Bobbi Dumas who has designated August “National Read a Romance” Month, and WOW am I glad she did! Take a look at her Read-A-Romance website to enjoy three famous romance writers posting daily (so that’s 93 best-selling authors for the month) about why they think romance is so important, while also entering the weekly contests for amazing prices like e-readers and romance novel collections (print and electronic). If you are interested, there’s even a grand prize drawing and you just need to write a short essay about why you think romance is so important to qualify to win an iPad mini and 31 Grand Central Forever ebooks! Twitter users, follow hashtag #RomanceMatters for plenty of updates and posts from name writers.

Ever wonder at what goes into making a great historical romance cover? History Hoydens shares the process with Isobel Carr’s latest self-published work and you’ll be dazzled at the process and the options. With great resources like Seductive Designs (Take a look at some of these covers! Yowza!) and The Illustrated Romance providing base stock images for authors to play with, New York publishers are going to have self-published works give them a run for their money. Do yourself a favor and glance at Illustrated Romance’s main page where you can see their image and the final book cover design to really appreciate the process.

Regency readers and writers be aware, there were LOTS of naughty terms for sex back in 1811, when the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue came out in England. The witty magazine Mental Floss has put together seventeen terms ranging from genteel to baffling for bow-chicka-wow-ow times from this resource. I’m going to see how many I can weave into casual conversation.

Great Deals

I’m really beginning to enjoy the themes of some of these awesome ebook bundles writers and publishers are pulling together! This one, Wicked Firsts, gives you six books by six different authors with every story involving a “first” – someone one of the characters lost their virginity to, doing something sexually adventurous for the first time, a first tattoo with your lost love as the artist, etc. Available as of August 19th, these novella length stories (total page count for all six is 450 pages so we’re looking at a 75 page average length for each one) are being offered for the asking price of $.99 for all of them, but this price will only be for the first week of publication, so move quickly. Since this includes such writing powerhouses as Elisabeth Naughton, Cynthia Eden and Alexandra Ivy, you are getting a lot for under a dollar!

Did you know that Overstock.com and Amazon are having a massive book price war? Overstock is currently underselling Amazon by 10% on a huge number of titles. Take a look at the romance section and see if there’s anything on your wish list that’s currently discounted. It has to be a paper book, but this might be the time to check on those backlist items or new releases you’ve been dying to have on your shelf.

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