Tag Archives: Under the Mistletoe

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of October 6, 2013

6 Oct

Upcoming Books and New Releases

Historical Romance writer, Katherine Ashe, is giving readers a fantastic Christmas present with the release of her holiday novella, Kisses, She Wrote: A Christmas Romance. When a rakish earl stumbles across the diary of a wallflower princess whose fantasies are anything but demure, sparks are going to burst into flames that will light the Yule fire, for sure. One of the best pieces of this novella? It’s currently only $.99 on Amazon. If you’re too eager to wait until December 3rd, then check out Ashe’s website for a tantalizing snippet. Ashe fans might also want to note that her full-length Regency ghost story (with a romance at its center), Captive Bride, is also reduced down to $.99 as well.

Samanthe Beck’s McCade Brothers series has just become one of my favorites since I read the associated novella in Lovers Unmasked and bought and read the first book in the series, Lover Undercover (awesome!!!), so I was thrilled to see that the next installment of the series, Falling for the Marine, will be out at the end of October. A marine helicopter pilot with a back injury is anxious to get back into the pilot’s seat but when he’s hot neighbor is the masseuse assigned to him she’s not the only one with straying hands. Entangled publishing is great with pricing, so this hot novel by a great author is only $2.99. Mine is already pre-ordered!

Dianne Duvall just released the fourth book in her Immortal Guardians series, Darkness Rises, featuring a beautiful swordswoman who gets the drop on vampire and the two-hundred year old guardian who realizes the vamps she’s killing have influential friends, a fact that puts her and his fellow guardians, in danger. Released on October 1st, this 400+ page paranormal romance is under $6 for its ebook version which suddenly places the series on my “to-read” list!

Fantastic new author Kat Latham (who blew me away with the first book in her rugby-based London Legends series, Knowing the Score) will be offering a connected Christmas novella to her series, Mine Under the Mistletoe, due out on December 5th. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy! No cover art as of yet, but I’ll let you know when it comes out.

I was impressed with the intensity of Shannon McKenna’s One Wrong Move, which made me thrilled to see its sequel, Fatal Strike, was just published in trade paperback and ebook form at the end of September. Containing more of a pronounced paranormal element than its predecessor (which still had one, it was just subtle) this book features a captured woman tortured like a lab rat with injections that bring out psychic powers. She finds herself escaping to a safe place where a handsome, protective man exists who always makes her feel better but she thinks he’s a product of her imagination until he bursts through the door. Bring. It. On.

Giveaways and Contests

While Lauren Dane fans are reveling in the publication of her latest book in the Brown Siblings saga, Drawn Together, this week, they need to not forgot that this prolific author does not rest on her laurels, but always has yet another amazing book coming out. Her Bound By Magick series is about to have the fourth book published in early November, Wild Darkness, but readers should note that Goodreads is actually having a giveaway (ending October 11th) if you wanted to see if you could win a copy.

Author Cassandra Carr has always given us great sports romances, so it’s not a surprise that her recent contest is running under a “Hockey Hotties” moniker! Enter to win a selection from her backlist of great hockey romances by leaving a comment on the webpage.

Sports romance fans need to run not walk over to Give Me Books in order to enter that blog’s Extreme Jock Giveaway. I’m still reeling from the prizes – 44 author signed paperbacks, 97 ebooks, 19 ebook sets, various swag and even a few book retailer gift cards!! Be warned that the Rafflecopter giveaway is naturally extensive with so many authors participating (you’re going to spend a decent amount of time tweeting and clicking those Facebook like buttons for entries) but it’s so worth it.

Entangled Teen has collaborated with Hesperia Loves Books to produced an unbelievable giveaway to support Breast Cancer Awareness and research. Running for the month of October, this giveaway gives participants the chance to win over twenty books, many of them signed, by authors such as Jeaniene Frost and Lori Foster. Tweeting and posting on Facebook about the giveaway gives extra points, but consider the multi-point bonus that comes with donating to the National Breast Cancer research program (the link is right in the rafflecopter giveaway). I did in honor of my Aunt Martha who is currently fighting breast cancer (and who loves romance) and I’m sure you can think of someone who has suffered through this disease. SUCH a great cause!

Paranormal romance readers who like their books a little to the left of steamy hot are already familiar with Joey W. Hill’s Vampire Queen series, but right now on Goodreads, she’s also giving away the first book in her Arcane Shot series, Something About Witches. Featuring a witch who prefers the reliability of a handgun to a spell and the sorcerer she pushed away years before who needs her help, this book (and series) is worth a look. This was the intention of Berkeley Sensation publishing who are gearing up for Hill’s new release on December 3rd, Unrestrained, by giving away books from all her various series. Thanks, Berkeley! Enter by October 11th for a chance to win.

Historical mystery readers who love their puzzles with a touch of romance will want to enter the Goodreads giveaway for Banquet of Lies by Michelle Diener. In Regency London a young woman must pose as the French chef of a nobleman in order to be positioned to ferret out her father’s killer and protect the document he entrusted to her prior to his death. Her employer’s curiosity and obvious romantic interest runs the risk of exposing not only her identity but also attracting exactly the one person she needs to avoid if she is to survive. Enter by October 11th for a chance to win.

If Banquet of Lies has you thinking about French food and Paris, you might want to check out the Travel Channel’s contest to win the “Parisian Trip of a Lifetime!” Six days and five nights for two at a cushy hotel in the City of Lights, including a half-day private tour (I think I’d go just for this), a two-hour Parisian bakery workshop (okay, nix the previous statement, I’d go for this), and $1500 spending money. *sigh*

Karen Hawkins’ second book in her The Duchess Diaries series is also being offered as a Goodreads giveaway and historical romance readers will definitely want to give How to Pursue a Princess a good look, whether they win or not. A young woman is pressured to make a good match and hopes she’s going to fall for the wealthy Earl her godmother thinks is perfect, until the hot and penniless Russian prince walks into the room. Whoops. Enter before October 12th to take this one home.

Signet Publishing deserves some major kudos for the outstanding covers of Marie Claremont’s historical series Mad Passions. This Victorian romance series has just had the second book in the series, Lady in Red, come out on October 1st, but if you haven’t yet picked it up, you may want to try to win a copy by entering the Goodreads giveaway before October 15th. This dark series’ installment features a young noblewoman who manages to escape the asylum in which her father has placed her, to run right into the arms of a duke who might very well be her salvation. That he finds her torment to mirror his own only binds them together as they fight for her future.

Fun Stuff

My deep-seated admiration for Laura Kaye’s writing is hardly a secret, and I’ve put on the Sunday posts how much I’m looking forward to her upcoming book, Hard As It Gets, which is the first in her new Hard Ink series. Thankfully for her fans (and quite frankly, any woman who enjoys eye-candy!), Avon Publishing has produced a fantastic video with her being interviewed about her inspiration for the characters. She’s delightful, the Baltimore backdrop lovely, and the tattooed figures…um…quite inspiring. Take a look!

Macy’s is selling a dress by Tommy Hillfiger featuring a great print that is row upon row of books. In the shirtwaist style, this looks awesome with boots and is a reasonable $79.95. I’m so on this.

For every girl who used her mother’s bangles to mimic Wonder Woman’s cuffs or pretended to be Barbara Gordon turning into Batgirl, there is a great nonfiction book, The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines by Mike Madrid. Right now this informative text is an amazing $1.99 at Amazon, so feed your inner Superwoman and download it in a flash.

Great Deals

I was thrilled to find on M. L. Buchman’s blog a note that some of his fantastic novellas which accompany his The Night Stalkers military romance series were being offered in a “romance bundle” from StoryBundle. Not having heard of that particular store, I went to take a look and was wowed by the mission of the website. Designed to promote indie authors by offering their books together with other books as a “bundle” around a given theme, the site’s founders hope to encourage you to find new authors you might enjoy. Unlike the great $.99 bundles on Amazon I often promote, StoryBundle also 1) lets you set your own price for the bundle (although it suggests an incredibly affordable one) and 2) encourages you to add an extra percentage which they donate toward charities encouraging writing and literacy among children. How awesome is that? Books are downloaded in either .mobi or .epub form so Kindle users or other ebook readers can all handle the files. Take a look at the romance bundle to realize that this is no pure donation – not only Buchman’s books but also independent books from Stephanie Laurens, Jo Beverly, Mary Jo Putney and Kristine Grayson. WOW!

Historical romance writer Courtney Milan’s Turner series novella, Unlocked, is on sale for $.99 right now on Amazon. A little over 100 pages, this story features a wallflower determined to stand up to her former tormentor upon hearing he’s returned to England. That he’s here to apologize for his past behavior doesn’t seem to quench her ire and the nobleman in question finds he wants much more than her forgiveness.

I’ve never read a suspense story that happened to be a Western, but I’m about to change that with the news that B. J. Daniels’ Harlequin Intrigue novel, The New Deputy in Town, is free for download on Amazon right now. When a new lawmen has to solve a bridal shower murder and everyone in the heroine’s family had a motive, things are bound to become complicated quickly.

Lyndsay Sands’ Argeneau Vampires series is understandably famous, so it’s always a good deal when they are discounted. Right now, The Accidental Vampire, the seventh book in the series, is marked down to only $1.99, a terrific deal. Starring a new vampire trying to adjust to coffin life on her own who gets set up by well-meaning friends on a blind date, the heroine is thrilled to discover the experienced vampire Victor Argeneau on the other side of the table. He’s good-looking enough to have his pick of woman with a heartbeat or without, but he definitely wants to help her, particularly after the realization that someone wants to put an end to his sweet fledgling’s new existence.

Having just reviewed Jennifer Ashley’s latest in the Highland Pleasures series, The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie, I’m thrilled to note that the accompanying Christmas novella, A Mackenzie Family Christmas is actually FREE right now on Amazon for its ebook form, so run over and grab it while the price lasts.

I love Cat Johnson’s Westerns but her Red, Hot and Blue series has always demonstrated she knows her way around a man in uniform (and out of it as well, mrrrrooow!). The third book in the series (each named after the hero), Jimmy, is now available for free download at Amazon, so check it out. An undercover Special Forces hero, the red-haired daughter of a senator, and one unbelievably hot one night stand (did I mention terrorists?) all make for an unbeatable combination.

That’s the scoop for this week. Happy Reading! 🙂

Countdown to Christmas: Jill Shalvis’ Holiday E-novella Under the Mistletoe Reminds You Why Lucky Harbor is the Place to Be at Christmas

13 Dec

Under the Mistletoe (Lucky Harbor #6.5) by Jill Shalvis (Forever Yours, December 4, 2012)

In a competition of which place I most wanted to live in a contemporary romance series, Lucky Harbor would undoubtedly make the top three. Remember, this was the series I read backwards, first reading books four through six then reading books one through three. Truth be told, I like the most recent three books the best, but I love Shalvis‘ writing and the town of Lucky Harbor, like the series, cannot be beat.

If there was a contemporary romance author who was secretly a Christmas elf, Jill Shalvis would probably also have that spot. I can’t count the number of holiday anthologies she has warm and fuzzy novellas in (some of which involve sexy chemists and their high school crushes) and even her Lucky Harbor series has had a few holiday tie-ins (see below). I’m thrilled her Christmas spirit overflows to the point where she has to publish new stories for her readers, so you won’t catch me complaining!

The subject of this novella is Mia, the wonderful, forthright, brainy but vulnerable seventeen-year-old we meet in The Sweetest Thing, when she goes to the town to find her birth parents, Tara Daniels and Ford Walker, who are rapidly realizing that the heat that brought them together as teenagers has not gone away. The three of them figure out a new dynamic of love and acceptance and it’s great to see Tara and Ford’s horror as Mia gets together with the gardener of the Daniels sisters’ Bed & Breakfast, the wonderful and sexy Carlos.

Christmas in Lucky Harbor (the first two books in the Lucky Harbor series including the one in which Mia is introduced) by Jill Shalvis (Forever, November 1, 2011)

In Under the Mistletoe, Tara lives in New York City and is enrolled in a graduate program to become a high school counselor. For six months she has been dating Nick, a sexy, handsome guy she met in one of her classes. They bonded when they discovered they’d both been put up for adoption as infants – the difference being that Mia got adopted by a wonderful family and then rediscovered loving birth parents on top of her original good fortune. Nick, on the other hand, stayed in the system but was determined to break out and help others. He’s recently graduated law school and just passed the bar, so Mia is hoping that he might someday say the “L” word to her soon, particularly since she knows she’s fallen for him.

A romantic candlelit dinner and plenty of sexy flirting later and she’s hoping that this will be the night Nick says it. She decides to up the ante by giving him his holiday present early – she’s gotten him a ticket to go home with her to Lucky Harbor for the holiday to watch her Aunt Chloe get married on Christmas Eve. But Nick’s reaction is far from what she imagined. She knows that he’s commitment phobic from his past, but she wasn’t asking him to get married, she just wanted to spend the holiday with him. His abrupt “no” and closed off body language sends a clear enough message to her and she ends their night by shutting the door in his face.

Nick knows he’s screwed this up in a big way. Mia makes him feel things he never has before. He even meant to tell her at dinner that he got the big legal job with the nonprofit which serves underprivileged kids – the one that will enable him to do all the traveling he’s always wanted – but being with her made him believe he didn’t want to go anywhere. He tries to tell himself it’s for the best as he tosses and turns but he gives up when the morning comes. He might not know anything about families or relationships but he does know that Mia is too important to him to give up so easily. Their shared experience of being given up for adoption gives him an insight others don’t have. Listen to Nick explain it.

And he also knew something else, something she’d never verbalized to him: for as well adjusted as she was, she needed her people to make a stand for her.

Nick had failed her in that, big-time, and both his heart and gut were churning over it. She’d never asked for a thing from him, but he’d known that need of hers was there and he hadn’t fulfilled it.

He could fix that. He would fix that, and then she’d never doubt him again.

Shalvis, Jill (2012-12-04). Under the Mistletoe (Kindle Locations 206-209). Kindle Edition.

Small Town Christmas (including #2.5 from the Lucky Harbor series “Kissing Santa Claus” which focuses on the happily ever after for Tara’s ex-husband, NASCAR driver Logan) by Jill Shalvis (Forever, November 1, 2011)

After discovering she’s already left the city, Nick flies to Lucky Harbor and walks in on Mia talking to her ex-boyfriend Carlos, getting a pretty cozy hug from him. This is not good, considering the fact that not six months ago when Nick’s relationship with Mia was starting up, Carlos showed up with a ring wanting to renew their relationship.

Nick doesn’t know that Mia has been moping for a day and that Carlos is with the love of his life now. Mostly, Mia is surprised and astonished to see Nick. In typical Lucky Harbor fashion, his request to talk with her is made in front of her birth parents, all her aunts and uncles, her young cousin (Maddie and Jax’s daughter), a dog and Carlos, with no one looking to move away to give them any privacy. It’s a pretty priceless moment (and it’s great to see all those previous couples so happy).

But they do go somewhere private, on a houseboat on the lake, actually, which leads to a super sexy love scene between Nick and Mia. Nick realizes that he’s undergone a massive paradigm shift of never wanting to get too close to anyone, to knowing that Mia is it for him. After their amazing physical reunion, he tells Mia he loves her to which she replies that she never asked him to love her, just to be with her “for now.” While most guys would love to hear that, Nick sticks to his guns, insisting on staying for the wedding and figuring out how to show Mia and her family that he is in this relationship for the long haul.

He does figure it out, in a very eloquent way, that convinces Mia and everyone else that Nick knows exactly what he’s doing. It’s a heartwarming happily-ever-after that will put a Christmas smile on anyone’s face. A big Santa hat for Jill Shalvis for combining her great Lucky Harbor series with the holiday to give us yet another super love story for this wonderful town!

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