Tag Archives: Vacation with a Vampire

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week Ending September 1st

1 Sep

Upcoming Books and New Releases

Burned_667x1000-200x300I don’t know whether to put Kaylea Cross’s latest Titanium Security book, Burned, in this “New Release” category or “Great Deals” but either way you need to take a look since she is a great military/romantic suspense writer! Her propensity for writing vibrant, intelligent heroines and military heroes with a marshmallow center for the women in their lives makes her a go-to author in my book, but the fact that her books are so affordably priced (this one is only $2.99!) makes her a bargain as well.

If you like Mary Jo Putney‘s brand of historical romance, please know that her latest book, Sometimes a Rogue, debuted this past Tuesday, August 27th. This is the fifth book in her popular Lost Lords series, involving a brave woman who tricks kidnappers into taking her instead of her pregnant sister and a former aristocrat turned Bow Street Runner.

Kendra Leigh Castle is a top-ranked paranormal romance writer in my book, so I was thrilled to see that her latest Hearts of the Fallen book, The Demon’s Desire, just came out this week. This series, which began as a fantastic novella in Vacation with a Vampire, has bloomed into a great series with a variety of vampires, demons and other assorted characters protecting their secret city of Terra Noctem from those who would want to destroy it. At only $2.99 for a full-length novel, it’s a great deal from a great writer!

Contests and Giveaways

Jennifer Ashley, author of the Highland Pleasures Victorian romance series, is giving away 10 Advanced Reader Copies of the next book, The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie, on her blog. Since it’s not coming out until October 1st, this could be your chance to revisit all those luscious Mackenzie men a little early. Leave a comment with your email address prior to Sept. 6th to enter.

Hurry up and get your entry into the giveaway for Sarah Castille’s gritty romance Against the Ropes before it’s deadline of September 3rd. This story about an underground MMA fighter and a young woman fighting the violence in her past is not to be missed. My review will be posting on the 3rd as well and you’ll be able to read just how blown away I was.

In a Cinderella meets Regency tale by Sophie Barnes, The Trouble with Being the Duke, brings together some pretty terrific elements, and you can win this first book in Barnes’ new At the Kingsborough Ball series, by entering on the Goodreads page prior to September 6th. If you’re worried you can’t wait or don’t win, the good news is that the book came out on August 27th, so feel free to order it with the above title link or get it from your favorite library or bookseller!

The excellent Bookpushers blog has a great contest (also with book bundles as prizes) going on right now, so be sure to check out the post featuring various genres in order to see if you can’t win some great (cowboy, paranormal, contemporary, sweet, erotic, etc.) books prior to the deadline of September 4th. Just post a comment with your preference to enter!

Speaking of Regency romance, author Erin Knightley is having a phenomenal giveaway of four grand prizes on her blog and each one of the prizes is a fantastic bundle of historical romance books ready for the taking. Get over there and enter immediately (the contest closes September 2nd) but also make a point in downloading her Ruined by a Rake novella, currently available for free on Amazon in ebook form!

Fun Stuff

BookshelvesGarnet Hill has some of the best skirts on the market and you or your favorite bookworm is bound to appreciate the Smocked Waist Detail Skirt in its fabulous “Bookshelves” pattern. I’m going to have to order this one to wear to work in the library!

Wondering about all the recent brohaha regarding ebook pricing and want to know more about it? A painless way of broadening your understanding would be to watch this short but well-explained version by agent Steve Axelrod, who was interviewed by the Popular Romance Project. You’ll come away understanding the publishing industry a little bit better.

Great Deals

Lovers of paranormal romance adore Sherrilyn Kenyon for good reason, and they might enjoy knowing that her 2002 novel, Fantasy Lover (the first in her Dark Hunter series) is currently reduced to $1.99 for the ebook version on Amazon.

Jeannie Lin is getting a great reputation for historical romance that (finally!) ventures outside of Regency Europe. A great way to sample her writing would be to take advantage of the current Amazon discount for her novella, Capturing the Silken Thief, which is free as of this moment. With a musician in the Tang Dynasty desperately needing to buy her freedom by stealing a book of poetry, who better than a handsome scholar to help?

For those of you, like me, who can’t get enough sci-fi romance, particularly when it involves sexy aliens and human women, you’ll love the chance to try Anna Zaires’ first book in her The Krinar Chronicles, Close Liaisons for free as an Amazon Kindle book. With a shy college student from New York City and powerful alien who spots her and must have her, this has a few New Adult shades built into it. I cannot wait to read it!

 

 

You’ll Want to Take a Vacation With This Anthology: Vacation with a Vampire

22 Jul

Browsing NetGalley, I recognized the authors in Vacation with a Vampire and was intrigued, enough to request the Advanced Reader Copy. I had read books by Michele Hauf and Kendra Leigh Castle and enjoyed them, so I figured this was a safe bet to try the anthology. I mean, after all, it’s the summer and vacations and vampires seemed like a great combination.

This is not your average beach read.

Or it is, if your beach read is a sexy, shivery, slightly-disturbing-but-in-the-BEST-possible-way book. Let’s take a look at the individual stories, shall we?

“Stay” by Michele Hauf

Lucian is a vampire content to live in Paris and run his antiques store. He remembers so many of them when they were new, and he has a nice cadre of friends to hang out with. The regular stream of tourists means he has a ready supply of one-night stands, either for blood or sex or both. After all, the one thing he never does is stay the night.

Magen is a buttoned up writer vacationing in Paris so she can do some research on the city and its Belle Epoque era for her historical novel. When she goes to get a present for the friend whose apartment she is using, she feels a strong attraction to the sexy owner of the antiques store. His presence unleashes her inner wanton and they both are astonished at the amount of heat generated between them.

Lucian took Magen’s blood and made her forget in the store, but it was delicious and he can’t help delivering the mirror she bought himself. One wild night of amazing sex leads to another and he’s astonished to find himself spending day after day with her. But her interest in the Art Noveau antiques in his store and landmarks like the Moulin Rouge are stirring up old, painful memories of a past lover, one that is determined to make both him and Magen suffer, even from beyond the grave.

This is more of a “happily for now” rather than “happily ever after” story and Michele Hauf is a solid writer you can rely on. I loved her description of Paris and all the Belle Epoque details. Lucian’s former lover and absinthe addict Magenta is a chilling character and the complexity of the tie between her and Lucian was well-drawn. My only complaint about this story was that Lucian initially describes Magen as “plain” but never later amends his opinion to share the physical part of her which attracted him. I think I would have appreciated seeing that evolution.

If you are interested in exploring other works by Michele Hauf, I strongly recommend using her Goodreads page, rather than the books page of her website, which resembles a calculus problem in its complexity. She’s been quite a prolific author (which I imagine is the reason she gets top billing in this anthology), so you’ll have a lot of other works to choose from.

“Vivi and the Vampire” by Kendra Leigh Castle

Oh my God, this story alone is worth getting the anthology (and at under $3.50 for the ebook version on Amazon, the book is a good value). Castle mentions in the little introduction before the story that she wrote the story because the hero, vampire king Justin, had garnered so much fan praise and interest in his small appearance in her other book, Renegade Angel, that she felt he would be an ideal subject for a novella. And is he!!

Renegade Angel by Kendra Leigh Castle (Harlequin Nocture, September 2010)

Justin is the incredibly busy vampire king of Terra Noctem, the secret underground city which provides a haven for night creatures who need a place away from humans. Justin has been a powerful vampire since he was turned during the Roman Empire and it seems like it’s been that long since he’s taken a vacation. His adorable sister and right hand woman forces him to go to a nice beach resort with the order to go get laid. Despite his eye-rolling, he agrees to head there, knowing he’s not going to find a woman, but at least the change of scenery would do him good.

Vivi is a vampire hunter also assured that this resort would be free of the pasty set, but the two drunk vampires in front of her on the beach arguing over which one gets her blood demonstrates there is no truth in the rumors. When Justin comes upon her fighting for all she’s worth, he easily dispatches the vampire to the hinterlands. But once he catches a close up look at the blue-eyed, raven haired pixie they were fighting, he’s not about to let her get away.

I cannot believe how hot and sweet this romance is. Vivi is an honorable, fun-loving character who took her job for its sense of adventure and because she was assured that vampire hunters only pursued vampires who have a proven track record of hurting humans. The people she’s working with are beginning to change their outlook, and that has her nervous, particularly since she finds herself so incredibly attracted to Justin. He’s not only the most gorgeous man she’s ever seen, but his vulnerability and loneliness call to something in her.

After reading this novella, I actually went and immediately purchased Renegade Angel so I can have a little more Justin time and continue to enjoy Kendra’s writing. Justin’s slight awkwardness during their “date” is charming and the idea that he lets Vivi cajole him into karoake is utterly hysterical and tugs on the heartstrings. I was elated that this ending was very much a “Happily Ever After” and want to read lots more about this particular world. Of all the authors, Kendra Leigh Castle also possesses the loveliest and more informative author website and seems to rock the social networking world with her savvy. She’s everything I want in an author!

“Island Vacation” by Lisa Childs

Piper has been hiding in her work for the accounting firm with its multimillion dollar clients for a long time – at least for the four years since the accident that caused her to assume a new name. She’s exhausted, not just from the hours she puts in but also from the nightmares and black outs which continue to plague her. Surprised she’s won the office pool for the all-expenses paid two week vacation, she embarks in the private plane provided and hopes she can get some rest.

Instead she’s confronted by a livid, incredibly handsome man, Roarke. Roarke knows that this woman is the model who killed his cousin, the gold-digger who demanded gifts and money and then murdered him in cold blood before disappearing years ago, but he didn’t count on her beauty stirring him so much. Her tearful protest that she’s not that person convinces him and the passionate love-making they engage in sparks an intense connection. The medical condition she has causes him some serious worry though – what exactly is wrong with her and why is the physician on her prescription label the one who works for the Secret Vampire Society?

This was a very psychological novella and therefore the most disturbing of the stories. Piper is wrestling with major trauma from years ago and her nightmares are vivid. I found the strong connection between the two of them a little hard to swallow – he’s accusing her of killing his cousin, then changing his mind, then having sex with her in the space of what seems like an hour. It was exhausting to read so I can’t imagine the characters actually doing it. Even though Roarke later professes his love for Piper and acknowledges how he knows she’s a good person, I wasn’t sure how he knew that. Had they had lots of pillow talk and I missed it? The fact that she was wrongly accused of killing his cousin and duped herself doesn’t mean she’s awesome. Hmm.

My conclusions are that I still enjoyed reading all three stories, but that Kendra Leigh Castle’s story is worth the price of the anthology alone. If you haven’t read anything from these authors, this would be a great way to get the flavor of their writing before committing to a longer work of fiction. This anthology is a super summer release by Harlequin Nocturne and it definitely fulfilled its purpose in getting me to read more books by these excellent writers. Thanks, Harlequin!

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