Mistletoe Madness blog hop: What hidden gems are on your TBR pile?

It’s the holiday season, and that means it’s time for the Mistletoe Madness blog hop! Over 50 authors (including me) are giving away goodies on our blogs…PLUS, several authors got together to sponsor a special prize: a Kindle Fire!

You can find out more about the giveaways at the bottom of this post.

Mistletoe Madness blog hop 2012

This year I’ve been really lucky to discover some amazing authors who had been languishing in my TBR pile for months. These are authors I’d kept hearing about and even follow online, but I just hadn’t gotten around to reading their books. Once I did, I fell completely in love with their writing.

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Winner of the Elizabeth Hoyt giveaway!

Thief of ShadowsWow! Thanks so much to everyone who left a comment on my interview with Elizabeth Hoyt – and a huge thank-you to Elizabeth!

The very lucky winner of Elizabeth’s latest novel, Thief of Shadows, is…Julie!

Congrats, Julie! Send me your mailing address to: romancingkatrina[at]gmail[dot]com

Everyone, I’m taking this week off blogging since I’m trying to wrap up lots of stuff before going to Anaheim for the RWA national conference. So there’s no giveaway this week, but on Monday the uber-talented Laura Kaye will be here, giving away Her Forbidden Hero!

Are any of you going to RWA’s conference? I’d love to meet you!

Interview with Elizabeth Hoyt – & giveaway!

Elizabeth HoytLast month I read my first Elizabeth Hoyt novel – Wicked Intentions – and I couldn’t put it down. When I finished, I immediately started reading her latest release, Thief of Shadows, and that cemented Elizabeth Hoyt’s status as an auto-buy author for me.

She writes darkly sensuous historical romance, and I’m so honored to welcome her here today! Welcome, Elizabeth!

1. Your books are set in my favorite time period—18th century London, a time of incredible poverty and social tragedies but also a time when a sense of charity began to flourish. What draws you to write about that period?

Well, the social issues you mention, as well as the intellectual innovations that were going on. Science, agricultural invention, philosophy—all were suddenly blossoming in England and Europe. Plus London itself was booming—people were coming to London from all over the world, which just made worse all the overcrowding and social issues. It was a time of great vitality.

Wicked Intentions2. Your heroes tend to have a physical trait that is unusual to see in romance—such as Lord Caire’s long silver hair in Wicked Intentions. Your heroines seem to fixate on these traits, possibly being a little turned off or disturbed at first until their love for the hero grows. How do you choose the unusual traits your heroes will have, and what role do they play in the story?

Uh…they kind of come to me? 😉 Honestly I’ve never had this question before, but I suppose the physical traits could be an external cue for the internal part of the hero that the heroine eventually comes to love…if that makes any sense. 😉

3. When you were a child, you traveled extensively through the UK and Europe, and you spent a year in Japan as a student. Did those experiences spark your imagination?

Of course. The one thing that travel teaches you (hopefully) is that there’s more than one way to live, more than one way to think, and that there’s more than one way of being “right.” Once you realize that, the world opens up and there’s lots more possibilities.

4. I can certainly relate to that. Now, as a big contemporary romance fan, I was excited to see you have also written contemporaries under the name Julia Harper. Will you have any more Julia Harper novels coming out in the future?

Probably not. I love writing the Julia Harper books—it’s a lovely break from historicals and they’re just fun to write—but the Elizabeth Hoyt books make a whole lot more money. 😉

5. What was the last novel you read that you couldn’t put down?

Jo Nesbo’s THE SNOWMAN

Giveaway!

Elizabeth is giving away one copy of her latest release, Thief of Shadows, to a very lucky reader. Leave a comment for your chance to win. I’ll randomly select someone on Tuesday July 17th.

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt

Thief of ShadowsA MASKED MAN . . .
Winter Makepeace lives a double life. By day he’s the stoic headmaster of a home for foundling children. But the night brings out a darker side of Winter. As the moon rises, so does the Ghost of St. Giles—protector, judge, fugitive. When the Ghost, beaten and wounded, is rescued by a beautiful aristocrat, Winter has no idea that his two worlds are about to collide.

A DANGEROUS WOMAN . . .
Lady Isabel Beckinhall enjoys nothing more than a challenge. Yet when she’s asked to tutor the Home’s dour manager in the ways of society—flirtation, double entendres, and scandalous liaisons—Isabel can’t help wondering why his eyes seem so familiar—and his lips so tempting.

A PASSION NEITHER COULD DENY
During the day Isabel and Winter engage in a battle of wills. At night their passions are revealed . . . But when little girls start disappearing from St. Giles, Winter must avenge them. For that he might have to sacrifice everything—the Home, Isabel . . . and his life.

Buy Thief of Shadows on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt

My rating: 4.5 stars
Heat: Scorching 

Thief of ShadowsWinter Makepeace is a man with many secrets. The one thing everyone knows is that he’s a serious, somewhat dour manager of the foundling orphanage his late father founded. He works himself ragged taking care of 18th century St. Giles’ most vulnerable residents, children who would be sold or kidnapped into slavery and suffer all manner of unspeakable abuses if Winter didn’t rescue them.

Talk about a hero.

But Winter’s foundling home is funded by a group of well-to-do ladies with more experience of fashion than survival. And when one of them decides that the home needs a more polished manager, the widowed Lady Isabel steps in to educate Winter in manners, so he won’t be removed from his post. Turns out that Winter has a thing or two he can educate Lady Isabel about, too.

I only read my first Elizabeth Hoyt novel last week, and I was immediately drawn in to the Maiden Lane series (of which Thief of Shadows is the fourth book). Since I didn’t have books two and three on my Kindle when I finished book one, I immediately opened my ARC of Thief of Shadows and spent another day in Elizabeth Hoyt’s dark and dangerous St. Giles.

Thief of Shadows contains spoilers that would ruin the first three books of the series, since there’s a mystery that runs though them all, so I’ll be quite vague in what I reveal.

One of the many things I loved about Thief of Shadows is how the class difference between Lady Isabel and Winter Makepeace (son of a brewer, and with many Puritan tendencies) plays out. Winter knows there are more important things in life than ensuring your bow is low enough, but for the most part he doesn’t fault Isabel for the world she comes from. It’s not a world he’s interested in fitting into, and when he falls in love with her he wants her to join his own world.

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Where have you been all my life, Elizabeth Hoyt?

For the last few months, I’ve been doing research for a story idea I that began germinating in my imagination about five years ago – long before I actually decided to start writing romance.

Last week I happened to be cruising around the interwebs and discovered that another author had a similar idea – only she was a lot faster than me.

Wicked IntentionsThis is always a terrifying thing for a writer, as I’ve said before. So I bought the first book in the series – Elizabeth Hoyt’s Wicked Intentions – and settled back to reassure myself that my story was different.

Ho-ly cow! Within pages I’d completely forgotten why I started reading it. All I knew was that I had been swept away into eighteenth century London – a time and place that has fascinated me for years – and that Elizabeth Hoyt was going to be a new auto-buy author for me.

Elizabeth Hoyt has been published for six years. I’ve seen loads of reviews for her books and have heard readers gush about her. But for some reason I’d never read any of her books…until last week.

I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning on a work night because I couldn’t put Wicked Intentions down. I kept reading over breakfast and then devoured the rest on my train home from work. When I finished, I was crushed. I still had two hours left on my journey, and I felt bereft. Elizabeth Hoyt became my smack.

Thief of ShadowsAnd then I remembered that the fourth book in her Maiden Lane series – Thief of Shadows – was sitting on my Kindle – an advance review copy that I’d downloaded from NetGalley. I immediately launched into it. And for once, I was distraught that my commute is only four hours long.

The best thing about “discovering” an author years after they’re first published is that you can explore an entire backlist.

Have you discovered a favorite author after they’d been writing for years? Do you have a favorite Elizabeth Hoyt book you recommend I read next?