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

Winner of the Molly O’Keefe giveaway!

Thanks to all of you lovely people who welcomed Molly O’Keefe to the blog last week. One person won her latest novel, Crazy Thing Called Love. Hot hockey player, ahoy!

And that winner is…Suz Glo!

Congratulations! I already have your mailing address, so I’ll send it on to Molly.

Didn’t win? Here’s more info about the book and where you can buy it.

Crazy Thing Called Love

Crazy Thing Called LoveDallas TV morning show host Madelyn Cornish is poised, perfect, and unflappable, from her glossy smile to her sleek professionalism. No one knows that her iron will guards a shattered heart, and memories of a man she’s determined to lock out. Until that man shows up at a morning meeting like a bad dream: Billy Wilkins, sexy hockey superstar on a tailspin—still skating, still fighting, and still her ex-husband.

Now the producers want this poster child for bad behavior to undergo an on-air makeover, and Billy, who has nothing to lose, agrees to the project. It’s his only chance to get near Maddy again, and fight for the right things this time around. He believes in the fire in Maddy’s whisky eyes, and the passion that ignites the air between them. This bad boy heartbreaker wants a last shot to be redeemed by the only thing that matters: Maddy’s love.

Buy it at Amazon | B&N

Everyone, this week you can win When She Was Wicked, the debut historical romance by Anne Barton. It sounds absolutely lush, so go enter!

Interview with Molly O’Keefe – & giveaway!

Molly O'KeefeMolly O’Keefe sold her first book to Harlequin when she was 25 and recently branched out with a series of longer contemporary romances, which has introduced her to a whole new audience (including me). She’s best known for her beautifully crafted characters and the mix of humor and emotion she injects her stories with. I’m so happy to have her here today giving away a copy of her upcoming novel Crazy Thing Called Love. Welcome, Molly!

Thanks Kat for having me!!

1. Crazy Thing Called Love is the third novel in your Crooked Creek series, which revolves around a ranch in Texas. How do these characters fit in with the characters from the first two books, Can’t Buy Me Love and Can’t Hurry Love? And should the books be read in order, or do they work as standalone novels?

Can't Buy Me LoveBilly Wilkins is introduced in Can’t Buy Me Love and there is a small little tease at the end of Can’t Hurry Love with Billy and Maddy – but Crazy Thing Called Love is a stand alone.

The first two can also be read as stand-alones, though Victoria (the heroine in Can’t Hurry Love) has a subplot in the first. All of this is to say – in order or out of order – you’ll be fine.

And there’s really not much ranch in the third book. We go back to Hockey.

2. I love reading sports romances—so much that my debut novel features a professional rugby player. What would you say are the key elements to writing a successful sports romance (I ask completely selfishly, since I’m hoping to get the chance to write more!)?

Continue reading “Interview with Molly O’Keefe – & giveaway!”

Contemporaries to covet in January – & giveaway!

People, it’s 2013. Can you believe it? You know what that means? We have a whole year of wonderful new books to look forward to. I can’t wait.

The first Monday of every month, I do a special giveaway. I tell you about the contemporary romance novels that are coming out that month that I’m most looking forward to reading (or have read advance copies of and can highly recommend). I ask you to tell me what you’re coveting, and one lucky commenter will win a $10 gift certificate for herself and for the author she mentions. What better way of showing our love to our favorite authors than by helping them read more, too?

Giveaway details are below, but here are the contemporary romance novels I’m craving in January. It’s going to be a great (though possibly expensive) month for contemporary romance!

The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry

The Other Side of UsThe best thing between Oliver Barrett and Mackenzie Williams is a fence. Ever since Oliver’s new-neighbor gestures were met with unfriendly responses, he’s decided to keep his distance. After all, he’s in this seaside town to get his life on track again. That doesn’t include working hard to get on Mackenzie’s good side—no matter how intriguing she may be.

His intentions are put to the test, however, when his dog becomes infatuated with hers. The two crafty canines do their best to break down the barriers between the properties. And where the dogs go…well, the humans must follow! It doesn’t take long for a powerful attraction to build between Oliver and Mackenzie. They soon discover that the worst of first impressions can lead to the best possible outcomes….

My two cents

I love Sarah Mayberry’s books, and at 85,000 words this is a longer Harlequin Superromance than she’s ever written, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what she’s done with the extra space to stretch herself.

Buy it at Amazon | B&N

Continue reading “Contemporaries to covet in January – & giveaway!”

Review: Can’t Hurry Love by Molly O’Keefe

Can't Hurry LoveVictoria’s husband stole money from their friends then killed himself when he was found out, leaving her with a sick son, no house and friends who despised her. When her father dies and leaves his ranch to Victoria’s half-brother, her brother asks her to live at the ranch and run it.

Liam’s family has worked on the ranch for generations. In fact, they used to own the land but lost it in a dodgy deal. So when city-girl Victoria shows up with no clue how to run the place, Liam takes immediate advantage and sells all the cattle.

Needless to say, this does their relationship no favors. But as an inexplicable attraction draws them together, they both have to decide how much they’re willing to trust the other when they’ve both been betrayed by the people who should’ve loved them most. (Liam’s mother left when he was a boy and never contacted him.)

Have you ever read a book that seeped into your soul while you read it, leaving you feeling both destroyed and elated when you finished? Can’t Hurry Love was that book for me.

I’d never read any of Molly O’Keefe’s books before, but a couple of my blog readers had highly recommended this one so I bought it. Holy cow, this is exactly the kind of novel I love. I have a soft spot for heroines who start off with a critical lack of self-confidence, and Victoria certainly has a lot to learn about her own capabilities throughout the novel. All of the characters—not just Liam and Victoria—are driven to emotional hell and back, making their redemption all the sweeter.

Continue reading “Review: Can’t Hurry Love by Molly O’Keefe”