Giveaway: The most joyful romances you can read during Read a Romance Month

How many of you have heard of Read a Romance Month (RARM)? It’s a wonderful site that hosts three posts a day from authors and bloggers, giving their recommendations of books to read.

I was so delighted to find out that one of my all-time favorite authors, Anne Calhoun, is recommending my books in her post on Monday! This is a huge deal to me, because Anne’s books are my go-to books when I need smart erotic romance with unfathomable depth. Thank you so much, Anne!

Bobbi Dumas, the founder of RARM, asked if I would like to write a post of my own on this year’s theme, The Joy of Romance, and include my own author recommendations. There are also some questions that all the authors are being asked to answer, so you’ll see mine below. Plus, I’m doing a giveaway. More on that later!

The joy of romance

For me, the most joyful moments come during times of pain or struggle. After all, if your life is chugging along just fine and something wonderful happens, it never feels quite as wonderful as it really is. It’s almost expected, like a neat little bonus.

But when you’re really struggling, when simply getting out of bed seems like a triumphant feat, and then something wonderful happens…it can make all the difference in the world.

Throughout my life, romance novels have been a way of battling depression. I first discovered romance novels when I was about 11. I had very few friends (actually, only one, a girl who was probably also suffering from depression, though we never spoke about it), and life seemed dark. I mostly read fiction that featured the occult. Then a box of Harlequin Presents showed up on my doorstep. I have no idea how I ended up on their mailing list, but I read the first book and I was hooked. They introduced me to a glitzy, glamorous life and gave me hope that being a grown-up would be better than being 11. They were right. (No amount of money in the world would convince me to go back and be 11 again. Give me mortgage payments and job stress any day!)

Since then, I’ve battled my way through several periods of darkness and anxiety, and reading romance has never failed to calm my out-of-control brain. I’m not sure how to describe it other than this: Beautifully written romance novels — the kind that make your heart bleed for the characters — take me away from my own life’s stress. They remind me that triumph over adversity is not only possible; it is joyful.

One of my all-time favorite reviews of one of my books says, “I absolutely love the characters that Kat Latham writes… They are broken but not beaten” (Fiction Fangirls on One Night with Her Bachelor). That statement means so much to me because those are exactly the kinds of characters I love reading about. My author recommendations below are people who write the kinds of books I love, with characters who are broken but not beaten. I hope you read and enjoy them!

My recommendations

Uncommon PassionAnne Calhoun is absolutely amazing and always at the top of my recommended authors to read. They’re sexy, smart and emotional. I can’t get enough of them.

Molly O’Keefe writes books that make me so jealous. Every time I finish reading one, I think, “I wish I could write like that!”

Alison Packard‘s Feeling the Heat is one of my all-time favorite sports romance series. If you haven’t read her books, you absolutely must!

I would read absolutely anything Sarah Mayberry writes, even a grocery list. Her characters are so real and their struggles are wonderfully rooted in real-life problems. I absolutely adore her books!

If you love historical romance, Rose Lerner‘s books are amazing. Her stories are always unique, with storylines unlike anything I’ve read elsewhere. Her research is impeccable, making her books richly detailed.

Cecilia Grant is another historical romance author whose books shine a light on the intensely emotional possibilities of life’s small decisions. Though her characters’ world is far removed from my own, Cecilia Grant always draws out their humanness in ways I can not only relate to but feel deep empathy for.

Laura Kinsale‘s books feature such wonderful adventures that I can read them over and over again. They are brilliantly unusual, full of sensuality and creativity. Rereading her books has helped me stay calm through several bouts of anxiety.

There are so many more authors I love, but I’ll leave it there for now. That should fill up your ereaders!

Questions

1 – Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.

My babyThe moment I finally realized I was pregnant with my first child. We’d tried for two and a half years to get pregnant, and we were in the process of starting infertility investigations. The doctor had explained that it could be up to a year before we even started treating any problems they might find, and I was heartbroken. I sat in her office sobbing, thinking that medical intervention was our only option. It turned out that I was actually a few days pregnant but didn’t know it. A couple of weeks later, I missed my period but I didn’t believe the positive pregnancy tests. My brain was so conditioned to cope with not being pregnant that it didn’t seem to understand what the little blue line meant (plus, the test’s instructions were in Dutch and there weren’t any helpful illustrations). My husband had to convince me I was actually pregnant. It took three days. We were lying in the park on a hot August day, and my body started feeling strange. A little nauseated. A lot excited. And I turned to my husband and said, “I think I’m pregnant.” He smiled and said, “Yeah, I think you are too.”

2 – Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

La Jolla, California. During summer vacations, my mom used to take me and my brother to the La Jolla Cove, a beautiful nature preserve with loads of sea lions and caves. My husband and I got married in La Jolla. It’s gorgeous and relaxing and full of good restaurants.

La Jolla

La Jolla Cove

3 – Tell us about a sound that brings you joy (or a memory attached to sound — music, laughter, wind chimes… ?)

My daughter’s laugh.

4 – What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

Anna Richland’s His Road Home. I read it last weekend, and I already know I’ll never forget it.

5 – And for fun, the joy of choice ;o) ~ Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?)

Okay, this is a little embarrassing, but I’ve only heard of Christopher Plummer and Chris Rock. I’m really out of touch with American pop culture! Plus, I always find celebrities disappointing, so I’m going to choose none of the above. Instead I’ll go with my best friend from high school, Christine, who is still a wonderful friend more than two decades after we met.

Giveaway!

I’m giving two winners their choice of an ebook from one of the authors I mention above. Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter. Leave a comment on this blog post, either answering one of the questions above or:
1) What kind of romance novels bring you joy?
2) What romance authors would you recommend reading during Read a Romance Month?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contemporaries to covet in February – giveaway!

Hello, friends! I hope your 2014 is going well so far. How are your New Year’s Resolutions? Mine are going great, mostly because I didn’t make any. 🙂

My long-time blog followers will know that I used to publish a post called “Contemporaries to covet” on the first Monday of every month. After I had my daughter, it kinda fell by the wayside. But I’m bringing it back!

So here’s the deal. In this post, I tell you about a few of the contemporary romance novels coming out this month that I’m most looking forward to. You tell me yours in the comments below, and I’ll randomly choose one commenter to win a $10 gift certificate for herself AND for the author she mentions in the comment. See below for details, but first, here’s what I’m coveting this month.

Jaded by Anne Calhoun

Jaded by Anne CalhounThey can’t hide from desire…

After life as a cop in Denver leaves him burned-out, Lucas Ridgeway returns to Walkers Ford, South Dakota, to serve as their chief of police. He’s hoping to start over with a clean slate and avoid any emotional entanglements—even after his next-door neighbor kisses him senseless. Alana is passionate, dedicated, and most importantly leaving town soon. So why not have some fun?

Alana Wentworth comes from a larger-than-life political family, yet all she wanted was to be a librarian. Then after an embarrassing marriage proposal from Mr. Not-For-Her, she jumps at the chance to live her dream for a few months. She wasn’t supposed to get involved with the community—or sexy, troubled Lucas. But when the time comes for Alana to put Walkers Ford behind her, she’s not ready. And Lucas may not be ready for her to go…

Publication date:  February 4, 2014

Buy it at Amazon.com | B&N

Why I want it

I loooove Anne Calhoun’s books. They are unspeakably sexy because she plumbs the depths of her characters’ emotions like almost no other author I know. If I’m reading an Anne Calhoun novel, my house could catch fire and I wouldn’t notice. I. Love. Her.
Continue reading “Contemporaries to covet in February – giveaway!”

Release week giveaway, day 2: Win Alison Packard’s The Winning Season and a sporty T-shirt

You guys, yesterday was so special for me. Thank you to everyone who commented, visited me on Facebook and tweeted about my debut release, Knowing the Score. I had a great day. My family took me out for lunch and made speeches about how proud they were (Mom even tried to get the waiter at my favorite Mexican restaurant to buy a copy of my book).

When I got home I found some amazing reviews. Janelle on Red Hot Books gave it an A-, saying: “I loved reading this book. I loved the characters’s revelations that it’s nice to support someone else, that it feels good to take care of each other, to be important to one another.”

And here’s one of my favorite reviews, written by Tori MacAllister. I’m going to print this one and hang it by my computer. “I cannot say enough about how much I adored this book! Spencer was wicked sexy, a man scarred by his past errors in judgment, who is so clearly smitten with Caitlyn (her obliviousness regarding his fame and his sport delights him) that he’s often unsure as to what he’s actually feeling…This book represents the first in a series, London Legends, and all I can say is THANK YOU!!! I’m not sure I could manage this novel as a one-off.”

*blushes* I don’t know these reviewers, so I can’t get over the fact that they like my book so much. It’s such an awesome feeling.

Also, today I’m being featured on the Carina Press blog. I opened my heart up on the blog post, so I hope you’ll drop by and leave me a comment.

Anyhoo, today I have two fabulous things you could win. Here are the details!

Giveaway!

One lucky person will win two prizes by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below. The first prize is one of my all-time favorite sports romances (and you know I’ve read a crapton of sports romances!). Alison Packard’s The Winning Season just came out a couple of weeks ago, but it’s destined to win a spot on my keeper shelf forever.

The Winning Season by Alison Packard

The Winning SeasonKelly Maxwell has finally landed her dream job, publicist for the San Francisco Blaze. But the team’s newest member, handsome bad boy catcher Matt Scanlon, is refusing every interview. She’s got to get him to open up before the season ends, or she may not be back next year. And after everything she overcame to achieve her dream, Kelly’s not about to let that happen.

Matt Scanlon just wants to be left alone to rebuild his life and his career. After a year of masking the pain of a recent loss with hard partying and fast women, he finally hit rock bottom and was traded to a team he’s loathed his entire life—a team with little or no chance at the post-season.

Butting heads is getting Kelly and Matt nowhere but annoyed, and with the team’s schedule on the road, they can’t avoid close quarters—or their surprising attraction to one another. As the season winds down, Matt finds his growing feelings for Kelly have brought his numbed emotions back to life. But when betrayal shatters their fragile trust, winning it all seems more impossible than ever.

Read an excerpt

Buy it at Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Carina Press | Books-A-Million

Follow Alison on Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website

The second thing you can win is this sporty shirt featuring the London Legends logo that you, my friends, helped me choose.

London Legends t-shirt

Ready to enter? I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The appeal of a sports hero – & a new chance to win Knowing the Score!

I’ve never been athletic. My high school P.E. teacher probably thought I was malformed, since I got debilitating period cramps every Tuesday, which happened to be the day of the week we had to run the mile. Weird, huh?

But there are many things I love about sports, even if I’m not a keen participant. I love watching people push themselves to the limit. I love the triumph of an underdog over Goliath. My heart breaks when the underdog comes close but fails at the last minute.

The Winning SeasonAnd I love a sports romance hero. They’re committed, savvy and…sorry, I drifted away looking at those pecs. What was I saying? 😉

For those of you who love sports romance too, check out Alison Packard’s brand-spanking-new release, The Winning Season. I’ve already bought it and can’t wait to read it.

To celebrate her release, several of us Carina Press authors are giving away our contemporary romance novels this week on Alley’s website. It’s all part of the Sizzlin’ Summer of Contemporary Romance. Today is my turn. Love sports romance heroes? Enter to win my soon-to-be-released rugby novel, Knowing the Score, at Alley’s site.

And here’s more info on Alley’s book!

The Winning Season by Alison Packard

Publication date: July 15, 2013

Kelly Maxwell has finally landed her dream job, publicist for the San Francisco Blaze. But the team’s newest member, handsome bad boy catcher Matt Scanlon, is refusing every interview. She’s got to get him to open up before the season ends, or she may not be back next year. And after everything she overcame to achieve her dream, Kelly’s not about to let that happen.

Matt Scanlon just wants to be left alone to rebuild his life and his career. After a year of masking the pain of a recent loss with hard partying and fast women, he finally hit rock bottom and was traded to a team he’s loathed his entire life—a team with little or no chance at the post-season.

Butting heads is getting Kelly and Matt nowhere but annoyed, and with the team’s schedule on the road, they can’t avoid close quarters—or their surprising attraction to one another. As the season winds down, Matt finds his growing feelings for Kelly have brought his numbed emotions back to life. But when betrayal shatters their fragile trust, winning it all seems more impossible than ever.

Read an excerpt

Buy it at Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Carina Press | Books-A-Million

Do you like sports romance heroes? Why or why not?

Want to win Knowing the Score? Check out the Sizzlin’ Summer of Contemporary Romance giveaways!

Sizzlin Summer of Contemporary Romance banner

Summertime…and the winnin’ is easy!

I’m back! And I’m getting really excited about the release of my debut novel, Knowing the Score – I hope you are, too!

I’m going to reveal the cover on Wednesday (it’s awesome, you guys. I LOVE it!), and throughout July I’ll be giving you opportunities to win an early copy of it, here on my blog and on some other blogs, too.

Several of my friends from Carina Press have contemporary romances coming out this summer, so we’re banding together and giving away our books on each other’s sites in July and August.

You can see details of all of the books and authors below. Make sure you follow all of us on Twitter and Facebook so you’ll hear about it when we each launch our giveaways.

We hope this is the start of a passion-filled summer for you!

The Winning Season by Alison Packard

Publication date: July 15, 2013

The Winning SeasonKelly Maxwell has finally landed her dream job, publicist for the San Francisco Blaze. But the team’s newest member, handsome bad boy catcher Matt Scanlon, is refusing every interview. She’s got to get him to open up before the season ends, or she may not be back next year. And after everything she overcame to achieve her dream, Kelly’s not about to let that happen.

Matt Scanlon just wants to be left alone to rebuild his life and his career. After a year of masking the pain of a recent loss with hard partying and fast women, he finally hit rock bottom and was traded to a team he’s loathed his entire life—a team with little or no chance at the post-season.

Butting heads is getting Kelly and Matt nowhere but annoyed, and with the team’s schedule on the road, they can’t avoid close quarters—or their surprising attraction to one another. As the season winds down, Matt finds his growing feelings for Kelly have brought his numbed emotions back to life. But when betrayal shatters their fragile trust, winning it all seems more impossible than ever.

Read an excerpt

Buy it at Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Carina Press | Books-A-Million

Follow Alison on Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website

 

Making the First Move by Reese Ryan

Publication date: July 22, 2013

Making the First Move by Reese RyanMelanie Gordon has spent the past five years obsessing over her career to dull the pain of a devastating breakup and the loss of her father. Her effort pays off when she receives the promotion that could be her big break. Only it means returning to her hometown to face her past while leaving behind the man who could be her future.

Selfless (and insanely sexy) philanthropist, Raine Mason, is committed to his cause. But his passion for rescuing high-risk young males from the road to disaster is fueled by his own dark and tragic past.

When Raine is ready to take his casual friendship with Melanie to sizzling new heights, her one-way ticket to Cleveland is already booked. A steamy night of passion leaves them both wanting more. But just when she thinks she is finally ready to give her heart to him she discovers startling news that causes her to question everything she knows about him. Worse, he is harboring a dark secret that threatens to shatter any hope of a future for them unless he can convince her that their love is worth the risk.

Read an excerpt

Buy it at Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Carina Press | Books-A-Million

Follow Reese on Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website

 

Knowing the Score by Kat Latham

Publication date: August 5, 2013

Book one of the London Legends

Knowing the Score coverRugby player Spencer Bailey is determined to win a spot on England’s World Cup team. But with a month break before the selectors start watching him, he’s eager to have fun with a woman who knows the score: the relationship will end when rugby season begins. The lovely American Caitlyn Sweeney seems perfect for the role of temporary lover, since her visa will run out soon anyway.

Caitlyn works for an international disaster relief organization and can handle the world’s worst crises, but she flinches from her own. Her past has left her with a fear of intimacy so deep that she has trouble getting close to anyone—until she meets sexy Spencer. His hot body and easygoing nature are too much for even her to resist.

Neither Caitlyn nor Spencer expects to fall hard for each other. But with their relationship deadline approaching, the old rules of the game seem less important than before…until past secrets surface, challenging everything they thought they knew about each other.

Read an excerpt

Buy it at Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Books-A-Million

Follow Kat at Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | katlatham.com

Personal Assets by Kelsey Browning

Publication date: August 26, 2013

Book one of the Texas Nights series

Personal AssetsSex therapist Allie Shelby has the professional credentials, but she could use a bit more practical experience. Finding the right man to bring out her inner bad girl is tough in a population-challenged Texas town. So when sinfully sexy Cameron Wright rolls back into Shelbyville, Allie wastes no time inviting him to join her in some hands-on research.

Cameron has come home to fulfill his dream of restoring classic cars. Back in high school, he knew the town princess, Allie Shelby, was way out of his league. Today he has even less in common with Allie, so he’s shocked as hell when she propositions him. Still, he’s only human, so he accepts her offer—and with each encounter, she shows him another, wilder side. Before long, he’s thinking about more than just sex.

But while her personal life heats up, Allie’s business is about to crash and burn. And she has to convince Cameron that she’s one princess who’s not looking for a prince to ride to her rescue.

Read an excerpt

Buy it at Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | iBooksBooks-A-Million

Follow Kelsey at Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | KelseyBrowning.com

 

The Derby Girl by Tamara Morgan

Publication Date: August 26, 2013

Book Two of the Getting Physical Series

The Derby GirlRoller derby girl Gretchen “Honey Badger” Badgerton lives in the moment, no apologies. Like every woman in Pleasant Park with a pulse, she finds Dr. Jared Fine irresistible, but she’s taken by surprise when her unattainable new neighbor asks her out.

On paper, Jared is the perfect man: gorgeous, wealthy and charitable. But his golden image is just that, and opening an upstate practice is a welcome chance to start a new life. When Gretchen stops to help him with a flat tire, he’s intrigued by her feisty attitude—and her sexy body art. There’s something refreshing about being with a take-charge woman who doesn’t expect him to be anything but himself.

Though Gretchen is hesitant to shatter Jared’s “bad girl” illusion of her, she has to face facts: she’s fallen for the good doctor. She’s used to putting everyone else’s needs before hers, but as their relationship heats up, can she handle having someone take care of her for a change?

Buy it at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

Find Tamara at Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website

These giveaways will take place from July 16-September 8, and I’ll also be giving away copies of Knowing the Score here on my blog every Monday in July. Let’s all have a sizzlin’ summer (even if you live somewhere like the Netherlands, where the temperature hasn’t really topped 65 degrees).