Tag Archives: Midnight Angel

Did You Miss It? New Books, Fun Stuff, and Great Deals You May Have Missed

3 Aug

New Releases and Upcoming Books

Lori Foster’s fans are eagerly anticipating her Ultimate Series about MMA heroes and the women who love them, so it’s a happy thought to realize that the prequel to this series, Hard Knocks, will be released August 4th. When a woman can’t forget her affair with a rugged fighter – one who disappeared without a word for months – she’s got to protect her heart when he waltzes back into town. But our hero hasn’t been able to forget the woman who meant everything to him months ago and he has only one night to convince her that he’s back in her life for good. We only have to wait a month for the first full-length novel, No Limits, which will be coming out September 1st, so we can enjoy Hard Knocks while we tap our feet. FYI, Foster is also running a giveaway on Goodreads where she’ll be dispensing 25 copies of the book, so enter by August 7th to see if you can snag one!

Paranormal doyenne Kresley Cole is also releasing this week the fourteenth novel in her incredible Immortals After Dark series, Dark Skye, coming out on August 5th. Fans have been waiting for this installment as it features a couple with a dark past – a prince and a sorceress from rival clans who loved each other as children but were torn apart by a cruel tragedy. While they question whether what lies between them can overcome physical and emotional scars, readers don’t, because Kresley Cole’s name is on the cover!

Contemporary romance author Gina L. Maxwell has got a new series What Happens in Vegas, and is kicking if off on August 11th with the first book, Tempting Her Best Friend. Since Maxwell showed us her considerable writing chops with her wonderful MMA-focused Fighting for Love series, I’m excited to see what this new venture will bring romance readers. This first novel stars a heroine frustrated that her best friend and neighbor can’t see what is right under his nose – so she determines to go to Las Vegas to attend a romance book convention and hopefully have a fling with one of the cover models she’s bound to find. Naturally when her friend, who has commitment issues and thinks she can do better, catches wind of her plan, he’s jetting off to Sin City to make sure that he is the only one she’s going to do any sinning with.

I’m not sure it’s physically possible for me to be more of a Lisa Marie Rice fan, but I’m happy that she’s taken a minor character from my favorite series of hers – her Midnight collection – and given him a book of his own, Midnight Vengeance, which will come out August 18th. We met the tattooed, pierced Jacko in Midnight Angel when he protected the heroine per his boss’ directions, but Jacko has a secret, the beautiful elegant Lauren Dare, who he has loved in secret and whose art classes he has taken. Someone as beautiful and refined as her would never be interested in a rough former sniper like him, but when he realizes that Lauren is running from something in her past – something that may have caught up to her – Jacko isn’t letting anyone touch the woman he loves. Classic Rice! Intriguingly there is another book, Midnight Promises, listed on the Goodreads series page which will be published in January 2015, but with no description as of yet, it’s a bit of a mystery as to who it will feature.

If you are enjoying Laura Kaye‘s Hard Ink series, featuring a group of disgraced special forces soldiers and the tattoo parlor that becomes their home base as they puzzle out the mystery of who set them up, you’ll want to mark your calendar with two upcoming dates. Kaye has a novella being released on August 19th, Hard to Hold On To, starring none other than Edward Cantrell (yay, Easy!!) who has found a woman who has finally penetrated the numbness which has plagued him since his team’s attack, and he’s not about to let go of her, particularly since danger seems to follow her around. All this is the lead up to the next full length novel in the series, Hard to Come By, this time with Derek DiMarzio and a beautiful woman related to the enemy who he falls for, due out on November 25th.

Jennifer Ashley has several upcoming books and novellas in her ever-popular Highland Pleasures historical romance series. Those naughty Mackenzies and McBrides are up to their usual tricks, starting in the The Mackenzie Clan Gathering, where I am guessing we will get an update on our four favorite brothers and their families on August 18th, followed by Scandal and the Duchess on September 16th. Soldier Steven McBride is known for his drinking and wenching off duty, so its with great trepidation that widowed Duchess Rose Barclay confronts the handsome man’s prone form in her hideout. She’s tired of scandal following her everywhere, starting with her ill-fated honeymoon when her much older husband expired, and it’s just her luck that in trying to outrun the journalists she’s ended up with a much bigger problem. Both these novellas are simply the precursors to the next full-length novel in the series, Rules for a Proper Governess, which has brilliant barrister Sinclar McBride finally finding someone who can awaken his widowed heart and wrangle his two hellion children, starting on October 7th.

Kat Latham – an up-and-coming writer who is producing British rugby sports romance that surpasses any of the baseball/football novels I’ve read recently – is coming out with the third book in her London Legends series, Tempting the Player, on November 10th. This novel features a player fighting for his starting slot whose best friend, a gorgeous airline pilot, makes his heart ache. With his fear of flying and her desire for a stay-at-home partner, they both know it wouldn’t work between them, but that doesn’t stop them from making the decision to take a break from their platonic relationship and indulge in the passion which is clearly there. If you haven’t read the first two in the series (take a look at my review of the first book, Knowing the Score, to get a sense how wonderful this writer is), pick them up now so you are ready for the third book in the series.

Contests and Giveaways

Readers who love their heroes with a cowboy hat will be pleased to see that B. J. Daniels is giving away a copy of Mercy, the fifth book in her Beartooth, Montana series, due to come out on August 28th. When U. S. Marshall Rourke Kincaid finds himself on the track of a killer, he’s shocked to come to the doorstep of his prime suspect, Callie Westfield, and find himself blown away by her delicacy. Still, all clues point to her as the killer, yet Rourke fights what he knows is his duty to turn her in and his instinct which is telling him that not only is she innocent, but she’s the woman he’s been hunting for his whole life. Enter by August 7th.

If you are the campy type who enjoys a blast from the past when it comes to romance novels, you’ll want to take a closer look at RT Book Review’s hilarious giveaway – vintage romance audiobooks from the 1990s! Some of them look like they are *gasp* on cassette tape, so you may need to unearth your boom box from the attic to listen. I think I might frame the Fabio one for posterity! Enter by August 6th.

Even though I’ve pre-ordered it months ago, I’m still planning to enter Lauren Dane‘s Goodreads giveaway for a copy of her upcoming first book in her spin-off Hurley Boys series (*fans self, oh those Hurley boys!*), The Best Kind of Trouble, which officially debuts on August 26th. A former wild child, small town librarian Natalie Clayton has got her life on the right path, a path that becomes threatened when former fling Paddy Hurley, one of the famous Hurley Boys rock group, comes back into town. He’s just her brand of naughty when her head is telling her that nice is the way to go, but Paddy has a different idea of what constitutes being a bad girl, and he’s more than willing to teach her how to walk the line. Enter before August 9th for a chance to win one of 25 copies in this giveaway!

 

Fun Stuff

I still love paper books as much as ebooks, so bookmarks are a must (no dog ears or *gasp* open faced books, in a librarian’s house!) and these little triangle book corners from Sketch are as cute and fun as they come. With sayings like “to be continued…” and “eyes rested here” this page of four metal bookmarks are a great gift for your favorite reader (even if that’s yourself). $10

There is no such thing as too many reading-themed t-shirts, so I was thrilled to see T-shirt Booyah’s take off on the Major League Baseball logo with their “Major League Reading” t-shirt. If the $22 price tag is out of your league, you can always get the sticker for $5 which they claim is tough enough for a car (or okay for notebooks). I might have to get both!

Considering all the reading that happens there, the bathroom is an excellent place to highlight book-themed accessories, particularly with a captive audience engaging in mandatory hygiene. Whether it’s your kids or your guests, Zazzle’s Read a Book Bath Accessory Set at $24.95 delivers a soap dispenser and toothbrush holder that urges people to “read a book.” Literary and clean – my favorite!

Great Deals

For readers who can’t get enough military men in their lives, Hot Alpha SEALs: Military Romance Megaset is right up your alley. With twelve stories by military romance authors like Cat Johnson, Cindy Dees, Cristin Harber, and Delilah Devlin, you know you are in good hands. At only $.99 for over 1400 pages, you can consider this one of your summer bargains!

I love the writing of Vivian Arend and if you haven’t had the chance to sample it, the current deal for the first of her Six Pack Ranch series offers a terrific opportunity. Rocky Mountain Heat is free right now, and I have a feeling you are going to like Arend’s brand of cowboy – strong and hot! Blake Coleman is trying to be a responsible rancher but he’s strongly tempted by Jaxi, even though she’s always worn a “hands off” sign as the girl next door. Jaxi has wanted Blake for years and is determined to shatter whatever barriers lie between them, at least to the point that Blake can see the potential for the something more that she always knew was there.

Mastered: Ten Tales of Surrender is a wonderful boxed set with some heavy hitting erotic writers. Joey W. Hill, Portia de la Costa, Kate Pearce and Carrie Ann Ryan are just a few of the outstanding best-selling authors who have novels in this collection, making its $.99 price tag even more phenomenal. If you like a little dominance in your romance, then submit to this collection while the introductory price still holds.

For fans of mysteries, hot sex, and hilarious humor, look no further than Darynda Jones‘ fantastic urban fantasy Charley Davidson series, featuring a heroine with some rather special abilities and a hero to die for (and they don’t come any hotter, believe me). The first book, First Grave on the Right, is on sale for only $2.99 for the Kindle edition, so consider sampling this fantastic paranormal at a bargain price.

I adore Roxie Rivera‘s Her Russian Protector series, but fans of boxing/MMA fighting might want to try her writing in the form of her spin-off series, Fighting Connollys, particularly since the first book, In Kelly’s Corner, is currently free on Amazon. Kelly Connolly has finally broken free of his fighting past working security for a Russian mafia company that treats him well, but when a friend from his past, the internet millionaire Bee Langston, is threatened by a stalker and his dad’s gambling problem escalates, Kelly finds himself having to re-embrace the fighting life he worked so hard to escape.

Happy reading this week!

Lisa Marie Rice Puts Plenty of Danger in Her New Release, Heart of Danger: A Ghost-Ops Novel

31 Oct

Heart of Danger (Ghost-Ops #1 – Mac and Catherine’s story) by Lisa Marie Rice (Avon, November 6, 2012)

I’m a big fan of Lisa Marie Rice, particularly for the way that she paints her alpha males and gives a series an overall story arc connecting her characters, usually the male protagonists.

When I found out a few months ago from her blog that she would be releasing a new series this fall, I immediately pre-ordered the book from Amazon and then sat twitching next to my iPad (luckily for me, the Kindle version of the book was released on October 26th whereas readers who prefer print are having to wait until November 6th). Swamped with work and at a conference this weekend, I was actually grateful that Frankenstorm kept me out of work for two days, and even used some of my precious iPad charge after the power went out reading this long awaited novel!

If you like Lisa Marie Rice novels (and I have read all of them – yes, that’s right, I actually have every one of her books), this book and series will offer you the familiar ground Rice always covers and yet it adds an interesting twist. We have our usually brusque, violence-is-his-job male who falls for the elegant, soft female so hard, he can’t remember what his miserable life was like before her. I know some people get critical of Rice using this trope every time, but guess what? This totally works for me.

In Heart of Danger, the setting is the not-to-distant future where Dr. Catherine Young is stranded on the side of a mountain in the vain attempt to try and reach a ghost, the disgraced Tom “Mac” McEnroe, team leader of Seal Team Six (yes, that one) who was accused with other members of his team of the ultimate betrayal to his country. He disappeared years ago, but Catherine’s interaction with a patient in her dementia pharmaceutical study has led her to right to Mac, and as her vision has caused her to believe, he comes to find her.

Dangerous Passion by Lisa Marie Rice (HarperCollins, August 4, 2009) – where Rice first experimented with a slight paranormal element in the attraction between her protagonists

The problem is, he’s totally pissed off, and a big, scary ex-S.E.A.L. is a little overwhelming. No one should have been able to find Mac and his team, yet this doctor about to expire from hypothermia in the winter storm has somehow made it up the mountain to their secret community. It’s not just his life Mac has to protect but the dozens of people who hide alongside him in the mountain, so he’s got to ignore the fact that this is the most gorgeous woman he’s ever seen and instead suspect her of foul play.

But in paranormal/sci-fi tradition, Catherine gives us one of our twists. She has the ability, and always has had it since childhood, to be able to touch someone’s skin and feel their character and emotions. The mysterious patient in her research ward touched her skin by accident and was able to force his thoughts into her mind, showing her he was the former commander of Mac’s team and, while the survivors thought he had betrayed them into disgrace and exile, in actuality he seems to be as much of a victim, unable to speak and close to death. Catherine has literally fallen in love with the Mac this man has revealed to her in his memories, and even while the reality is scaring the bejesus out of her, her body cannot help but react to his presence.

The evil villain provides both our story arc and the sci-fi element. The pharmaceutical company Catherine works for is involved with some very, very illegal research. She thinks that her mystery patient has dementia but her scans reveal surgeries not recorded in his medical file and while dementia symptoms exist, his brain scans show he should be fully functional and able to speak. What Catherine doesn’t know is that the head of the company is taking the drug Catherine is developing to amplify the neurons ability to communicate in her dementia patients, and instead using it to create hopped up super-soldiers, in the hope of helping the Chinese take over the world. (Unsurprisingly, their economy has superseded our own in the future.)

Midnight Man (Midnight series #1) by Lisa Marie Rice (Ellora’s Cave, November 1, 2009)

Mac seems like a cross between Midnight from Midnight Man in his air of command and physically reminds me of Douglas Kowalski from Midnight Angel because of his facial scarring. Rice always does a great job of making even the heroes who are clearly not physically beautiful appealing by explaining their aura of danger and laser-like attention to the heroine (let’s not forget their amazing bodies – that book cover doesn’t seem far off the mark). The sex in her books is always highly chemical, full of off-the-charts heat, a little fast and rough but these joinings always brings our hero/heroine closer together – they literally cannot get enough of each other. With Catherine’s ability to sense emotions through skin, this physical connection takes on a whole other dimension.

Just like in past series, we have two other characters, team members of Mac’s, who future books will flesh out. Nick will be the focus of the next book, I Dream of Danger, due out in July 2013, and while he seems emotionless, we discovered through Catherine’s touch that Nick is still in love with and worries about a woman he knew before he became a ghost. Happy-go-lucky Jon may seem like a surfer dude on the outside, but he’s unable to trust due to some betrayal of his past and I look forward to reading his story as well. There are a lot of interesting secondary characters (like former Oscar-winning actress and now cook, Stella, who I adored) that would either be potential partners for the men or great characters to explore in future books, so I’m interested to see if Rice stops at a trilogy or ends up with multiple books or novellas in this series.

With other supposedly dead members of their former team found at the end of this book, the revelations as to the level of conspiracy and the role of the pharmaceutical nemesis should be rather substantial.  It will be interesting to see how the romantic suspense plot develops as a result of this ongoing explanation, one which seems far more elaborate and substantial than anything Rice has taken on in a series before.

While we will have to wait and see the other books in the series to determine if Ghost Ops can compete with such fabulous classics as Midnight Man or Dangerous Passion, Rice is taking on new territory while relying on tried and true approaches to characterization will undoubtedly have her diehard fans adding this series to their bookshelves. I know I was happy to do it. Thanks, Lisa!

The Ultimate Alpha Males: Midnight series by Lisa Marie Rice

20 Mar

I stumbled across a Lisa Marie Rice recommendation as one of the “similar reads” links on Goodreads.  For a long time I didn’t take the plunge into reading her Midnight trilogy for a couple of reasons.  First, the covers are unattractive and extremely confusing (just look at them!). It makes me weep to think of all the mediocre romance novels out there with amazing covers that dupe the reader into buying them and these are just the opposite. I can barely figure out what is happening on the cover of Midnight Run and Midnight Angel.  Why the sundial/clock thingy?  Is it because of the midnight part of the title? (FYI, clocks and time are not that important in the plot.) Second, a few reviewers emphasized that, in the case of the first book of the Trilogy, Midnight Man, that the protagonist was a major Alpha male.  I mean major, as in uber-controlling, and they were concerned that some people would not like the book if that kind of character put them off.

Having read hundreds of romance novels over the course of my life, I have to say that while I love a strong male character, I guess the phrase “Alpha Male” still carries a caveman connotation, or at least the type of a relationship that your BFF in high school would slip you one of those special pamphlets from the nurse’s office.

In the hands of a good writer, the Alpha Male is nothing to fear.  Lisa Marie Rice crafts her male characters from a similar stamp – yes, they are bad-ass, usually ex-Special Forces warriors, who expect to control every situation.  Yikes! This could potentially be a disaster of epic anti-feminist proportions, but in Lisa’s hands she uses the vacillating point of view to show us what is going on inside the minds of our heroes.  Let’s hear what she has to say about them.

“My men are brave and smart and built. And boy do they love their women! Their women are much more interesting than new weaponry, sports cars, and even plasma TVs in their eyes, and the fascination will last their entire lifetimes, I promise. It’s sex, of course, but also a whole lot more. My heroes genuinely like and admire their women, though in the beginning this is sometimes obscured by blinding lust. Once that first sharp edge of desire is over and they settle down a little—and that will take several years and a kid or two—they’re so bonded with their women that they couldn’t live without them.” (from her website)

It’s this utter fascination with the heroine that shines through and makes us go “awwww” even if they are killing a bad guy (to protect the heroine, natch).  Lisa Marie Rice shows their lust and fascination with a woman who evokes feelings they have never felt before, as well as their utter commitment to keeping this newfound special person utterly safe.  The heroines might not be able to kill a person with their bare hands 30 different ways, but they are not TSTL (too stupid to live) either, instead possessing intelligence and resourcefulness as well as bravery.  Yes, they rely on the hero for his skill set and look to him for comfort, but lots of women do that with their best friend or their mom and manage not to accuse them of being too alpha, right?

Former SEAL John Huntingdon is known for being a deadly Black Ops commander who can see in the dark (hence his nickname, Midnight Man) but now he is simply looking for a new space for the thriving security company he built when he left the service. Elegant blond beauty, Suzanne Barron, enjoys running her interior design business out of the renovated factory she inherited, but her new tenant is not going to be discussing shades of teal anytime soon.

John is startled by the blaze of lust he feels for Suzanne and possessing her (and upgrading her building’s crappy security) becomes his new mission. The dangerous aura surrounding John is not exactly what Suzanne’s life has prepared her for, and after their first date turns into hot sex against the brick wall in her buildings hallway (have icy cold drink ready when reading), Suzanne doesn’t know how to handle the intensity of their relationship.  While trying to make sense of what is happening between them, she unknowingly witnesses a murder and has a hit taken out on her. As she and John escape to the mountains, lust and attraction turn into something deeper, but with a killer on the loose, they might lose each other forever.

The second book of the trilogy brings up an innovative technique employed by Lisa Marie Rice.  Unlike most trilogies where the books are clearly chronological, Lisa builds in deliberate overlap to her stories.  So Midnight Run actually happens a little before and then during the events in Midnight Man.

Claire Parks is a good friend to Suzanne and is grateful to her for decorating the interior of her adorable new Portland house.  After a long illness and tragedy in her childhood, Claire wants to grab life with two hands, which is what she has in mind when she heads out to a sketchy club with a new friend.

Lieutenant Tyler “Bud” Morrison is undercover at a club known for drugs and illicit activity and is startled to see a beautiful princess stranded by her companion and left to the wolves.  Stepping in, he rescues her and takes her home, an act that sizzles with attraction and leads to an amazing night (weekend, really) of sex and companionship.  Claire thinks Bud is a wonderful lumberjack or carpenter (since he’s helping her around the house and good with his hands *mrrrrooowww*), not realizing he is a police officer.

But when her wealthy father stops by, Claire discovers that the gorgeous man who has rocked her world is actually the police officer who rescued her from a kidnapper when she was a young, sick teenager.  Bud gets no argument from Claire’s father about their relationship (her father admires Bud and his integrity), but instead he gets an earful about Claire’s delicacy and past health issues.  Rather than being her passionate lover, he proposes and proceeds to treat her like delicate crystal.  Can’t he see that he will lose her if he won’t let her be his equal?

Midnight Angel is my FAVORITE of the whole series, largely because I could eat the hero up with a spoon.  Former SEAL Douglas Kowalski is a big, scarred beast of a man, one who usually sends elegant ladies running, but he secretly loves all things beautiful, especially music.

When his former commander and present-day security partner John Huntingdon insists that he accompany John and his wife, Suzanne, to a jewelry exhibit at the museum, he grudgingly makes the sacrifice.  Suzanne designed the display cases and her friend Claire Parks and her family’s foundation arranged the exhibit, but it still seems like torture until he catches sight of the stunning redheaded beauty playing the harp and singing like an angel.

Claire and Suzanne’s friend Allegra Ennis agreed to perform at this special event as a favor to them, but it’s the first time she’s performed since her father’s murder, the same event that took her sight and her memories of that traumatic event. When gunshots ring out, Allegra finds herself tucked under the stage and sheltered by the huge, rock-hard body of John Huntingdon’s partner, Douglas, a man with an amazing bass voice whose playful banter was making this evening a lot easier on her.

Douglas thinks Allegra’s beauty and incredible talent puts her into the untouchable category, but he cannot deny the wash of lust and tenderness he feels for her. When he realizes she is feeling the strong attraction between them as well, not even well placed C4 explosives would tear him from her side, especially after he realizes that the bastard who hurt her and literally got away with murder might still be after her.

There is a lot to love about this series (I actually have it in ebook form and find myself rereading them about once every couple of months). The characters are well-drawn and Lisa Marie Rice knows how to describe lust and attraction (with a hint of something more) in a way that other romance authors would do well to emulate. On an interesting note, her sex scenes are interestingly realistic (as much as this genre can be), in that she sometimes depicts the heroine being a little uncomfortable or unable to satisfy the hero at that moment, which sounds odd in an erotic (or at least scorcher) romance novel, but it actually makes the scenes more caring in the long run.

Lisa Marie Rice is a pseudonym and her bio is a fun exercise in playful fiction, with the only “true fact” she lists being that she writes looking at the Ionian Sea and facing (in the far distance) the temple where Pythagoras (the theorem guy) taught. My best guess is that this puts her probably in southern Italy or Greece facing Crotone, the place where he taught, so I’m glad she has such a beautiful place to be suitably inspired for her writing.  I would encourage her to set a book in that stunning locale, as I could easily see one of her fabulous Alpha Males meeting a beautiful heroine on assignment there.

Don’t be afraid of the alpha male.  When done right, he can be a macho protector who is a perfect match for a feisty heroine.

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