Contemporaries to covet in March – & giveaway!


How can it already be March? On Saturday, the sky over the Netherlands was covered by one thick gray cloud and it was just above freezing. Here’s a picture to prove it. Smarty Pants and I were in Delft this weekend, home of the painter Vermeer (The Girl With The Pearl Earring) and of the church where Dutch royals are buried. Here’s the tomb of William of Orange, who was assassinated in Delft in 1584 and was the founder of the current line of Dutch monarchs.

William of Orange's tomb
William of Orange’s tomb

Yesterday, there were a few patchy rain clouds but the temperature had risen a few degrees. I haven’t been outside yet today, but the sun is shining so hard it hurts my eyes – not that I’m complaining! Roll on, Spring!

Anyway, we’re not here to talk about history or the weather. Just like the first Monday of every month, I’m here to celebrate new contemporary romance releases. I’ll tell you below which March contemporary romances I’m most looking forward to. If you leave a comment and tell us which March contemporaries you’re coveting, you could win a $10 gift certificate for yourself AND the author you mention.

Giveaway details are below, but here are the books I’m looking forward to this month.

Thrown by a Curve by Jaci Burton
She thinks she knows this player—but he has a few surprise moves.

Thrown by a CurveFor Alicia Riley, her job as a sports therapist for the St. Louis Rivers baseball team is a home run—until she becomes the primary therapist for star pitcher, Garrett Scott. Out of the lineup with an injury, he’s short-tempered, hard to handle, and every solid inch, a man.

Right now, the only demand he’s making on Alicia is that she get him ready to pitch in time for opening day. Except the sexual chemistry between them is so charged, Alicia’s tempted to oblige Garrett just about anything. But both their careers are at stake—one bad move and it’s game over for both of them.

Garrett also feels the hot sparks between them, and the way he figures it, what better therapy is there than sex? Now all he has to do is convince the woman with the power to make the call.

My two cents
I’ve only read one Jaci Burton story – her novella The Best Thing in Carina Press’s 2012 Christmas anthology – but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus, as you know I’m a huge fan of sports romances, so this book is at the top of my I-Want list.

Release date: March 5, 2013
Read an excerpt

Buy it in print at: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Buy a digital copy at: Amazon | B&N | Kobo Books | iBookstore

Uncommon Pleasure by Anne Calhoun

From a “fresh and imaginative” (The Romance Studio) voice in erotic romance come the tales of two women, each daring to challenge the toughest of men…but in these edgy, heated encounters, the greatest thing she’ll risk is her heart.

Uncommon PleasureIn Over the Edge, after a tragic incident during Ty Hendricks’ last tour of duty he cut off all connection with anyone he cares about—until a night with Lauren Kincaid draws him reluctantly back into the world. Lauren sees a wounded man in danger of losing everything to his inner demons, but the sensual, no-holds-barred fight for Ty’s soul could cost Lauren her heart.

In All on the Line, Abby Simmons fell hard for Lieutenant Sean Winthrop, but he sacrificed their relationship when he deployed to Afghanistan. Now he’s home, full of regrets and intent on winning back the woman he never forgot. Abby gives Sean her body but holds her heart aloof, until one night of pleasure forces her to choose her U.S. Marine…or life without him, forever.

My two cents
Again, I’ve only read one Anne Calhoun story – and again it was a Christmas novella (Breath on Embers) from Carina Press. It made me cry, even though I’d been warned that it would and so I’d steeled myself against it. Anne Calhoun’s characters snuck past my defenses. I’m looking forward to that happening again.

I also look forward to having Anne as a guest on this blog. She’ll be doing an interview and giving away a copy of Uncommon Pleasure on March 25th.

Release date: March 5, 2013
Read an excerpt

Buy it at: Amazon | B&N

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Would you pay to browse in a bookshop?

Last Friday, I was listening to You & Yours, BBC Radio 4’s consumer affairs program, and heard the CEO of HarperCollins say something that stuck with me all weekend.

“Only 35% of fiction in the UK is bought through a physical bookshop…I don’t want to take the bookshop away. I desperately want to keep it. But I think the question is, will they be able to sustain themselves?…In America, certain shoe shops are charging to try on shoes because people are just going in, trying them on and then ordering them online. I think the idea of a bookshop becoming a book club is not that insane.”

Victoria Barnsley, CEO of HarperCollins UK and International

You can listen to the discussion on Radio 4’s website (it starts at 21 min 05 seconds).

My first reaction was to wonder which shoe shops in the U.S. charge people to try on shoes. Fortunately not the ones I’ve ever been to because I find shoes impossible to shop for.

My second reaction was fear, which seems to be my default mode when I think about the possibility of bookshops disappearing. I say that even though I rarely buy things from bookshops any more – but the main reason for that is because I live in a country where the English-language selection is small.

Two Dutch scholars browse at the University of Leiden, 1610
Two Dutch scholars browse at the University of Leiden, 1610

When I visit bookshops in the U.K. and U.S., I’m so excited to be surrounded by books that I inevitably walk out with my arms full and my credit card smoking. But I also completely understand people who browse in bookstores and then buy wherever they find the best deal – which will often be online.

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Contemporaries to covet in February – & giveaway!

I’m sorry that I’m publishing this post half way through the month, friends! I usually publish my contemporaries to covet posts on the first Monday of the month, but this month I had a couple of interviews with the wonderful Manda Collins and Sarah MacLean that I wanted to get up right away.

For those of you who are new around here, every month I let you know what contemporary romance novels coming out that month I’m most looking forward to reading. Leave a comment telling us what February contemporary romances you’re coveting, and you could win a $10 gift certificate for you AND the author.

Giveaway details are below, but first here are the contemporary romances I can’t wait to read this month.

Hip Check by Deidre Martin

Hip CheckEsa Saari is a hockey player for the New York Blades with a bad-boy rep both on and off the ice. But when he suddenly becomes the guardian of his eight-year-old niece, Nell, he knows his excessive lifestyle is about to get body checked.

So he hires a live-in nanny. Her name is Michelle Beck, and she gets along great with Nell. What surprises him, though, is that he instantly hits it off with her, too. Getting romantically involved would be a bad idea, but he’s finding it impossible to ignore the intense connection between them.

Michelle, however, takes her job very seriously, and must decide whether to listen to her head or her heart. And Esa’s got to decide if he can give up his bad- boy image for the love of a good woman…

My two cents
I love sports romances and, though I’ve never seen a hockey game (either in person or on TV), hockey players are among my favorite romance heroes for some reason. Oddly, despite my love for hockey heroes, I’ve never read a book by Deidre Martin, who’s written twelve books about a hockey team. It’s high time I give her a shot.

Release date: Feb 5, 2013
Read an excerpt

Buy it at Amazon | B&N

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Interview with Manda Collins – & giveaway!

Manda CollinsManda Collins’ debut Regency romance, How to Dance with a Duke, came out one year and one week ago to rave reviews. Now her third book in the Ugly Ducklings trilogy, How to Entice an Earl, is out, and she’s here to answer some questions and give away a copy. Welcome, Manda!

1. With three books published, 2012 must’ve been a remarkable but busy year. What was the best and the most challenging thing about your first year as a published author?

I think the best thing has been finally having people read my books! It’s easy to feel like you’re just living in a bubble when only you and your agent and editor (and a few friends) have read your books. So, getting the opinions of people who don’t know and love you is a dreadful but necessary prospect. I can’t even really relax about a book until it’s published and out there. Which is weird I guess, but there it is.

The most challenging thing about this year has been having to write and edit one book at the same time that a previous book is being published and needing promotion. It’s hard to keep track of which book I’m talking about sometimes. By the time a book is published, I’m already mentally working on the next one. So there’s a lot of “wait, where am I again?” going on! But it’s great. And I’m so glad to be published now.

How to Dance with a Duke2. For readers who aren’t familiar with your books, can you give a summary of what the Ugly Ducklings trilogy is about?

The Ugly Ducklings trilogy follows three cousins whose mothers were THE beauties of their day. Cecily, Juliet and Maddie have had to grow up with the expectation that they’d follow in their mothers’ footsteps, and they most definitely do not. None of them is particularly into the social scene and they all have other things they’d rather be doing than sitting in a ballroom waiting for a dance partner. Each of them finds her hero and works with him to solve some mystery that’s plaguing them at the moment. I think of them as Nancy Drew for grown ups.

3. Nancy Drew for grown-ups? I’m all yours. I love love love friends-to-lovers stories. I also love wallflowers and ugly ducklings, so this whole series is perfect for me. 🙂 Tell us one thing that your hero and heroine from How to Entice an Earl would be shocked to discover about each other.

Continue reading “Interview with Manda Collins – & giveaway!”

Winners of my Contemporaries to Covet giveaway!

Update: Cindy Gerard is giving away her prize to one lucky reader. How cool is that? So instead of sending Cindy a gift certificate, I’m going to give away her romantic suspense Killing Time on Twitter tomorrow. Make sure you follow me on Twitter and keep an eye out tomorrow!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my Contemporaries to Covet post last week to say which new contemporary romances you’re looking forward to reading in January. There are LOADS of great suggestions there!

The winner of a $10 gift certificate to the online book seller of her choice is…Susan T!

Congrats, Susan! Email me at romancingkatrina[at]gmail[dot]com and let me know which website you want me to buy your gift certificate at.

In her comment, Susan said:

Killing TimeThere are alot of new releases in January but the one I’m most looking forward to is Cindy Gerard’s Killing Time.

That means that Susan won a $10 gift certificate for Cindy Gerard, too! I’ll contact Cindy to let her know.

Everyone, this week you can win Beverley Kendall’s new adult novel When in Paris…

Good luck!