Tagged: jeaniene frost Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Tara Sonin 6:00 pm on 2017/12/12 Permalink
    Tags: , a christmas promise, a cold day for murder, a highlander christmas, a kiss for midwinter, a rose in winter, a seduction at christmas, a winter scandal, becca fitzpatrick, bed of roses, biting cold, black ice, boy snow bird, bring me home for christmas, , , , , chloe niell, , christmas angel, Cold Mountain, , , dana stabenow, dark celebration, deep kiss of winter, , , , elizabeth chadwick, , , , gaelen foley, , Get a Clue, girls made of snow and glass, grace burrows, , ice, jane villaneuva, , jeaniene frost, , , john green maureen johnson, , , , la casey, lady sophie’s christmas wish, lauren myracle, let it snow, , , lord of ice, , , marissa meyer, , , , melissa bashardoust, mercedes lackey, , never love a highlander, , northern lights, once upon a winter’s eve, , , , shadows and lace, , , snow falling, , susan wigs, , , , the bite before christmas, the scandal before christmas, the snow queen, , the winter crown, , the winter sea, , winter fire, winter garden, , winter stroll   

    50 Delightful Winter Romances 

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but with bare trees and freezing temperatures, it can also be pretty bleak. That’s why we’ve got fifty winter romances on tap; so you can spend the long nights with couples falling in love instead of shivering under the covers.

    Devil in Winter, by Lisa Kleypas
    What’s the best way to get away from a conniving family? Marry a notoriously terrible man, of course. But there’s a catch: when she demands that her rake of a husband stay celibate for six months, Evangeline finds his icy exterior thawing enough to let her into his heart.

    Deep Kiss of Winter, by Kresley Cole
    An ice fey, Danii possesses a dangerous ability to cause excruciating pain to anyone not of her kind who touches her skin. But Murdoch, a vampire, is not one to be dissuaded by the cold…especially when his passion for her burns hotter than any flame.

    Once Upon a Winter’s Eve, by Tessa Dare
    This novella stars Violet Winterbottom, who is swept away by a mysterious stranger at the Spindle Cove Christmas Ball, when a man stumbles into the ballroom and collapses. The mysteries surrounding him are numerous, but none more than the heat between them…which Violet will lose forever if she does not figure out who he is, and what he wants, before the sun rises.

    A Kiss For Midwinter, by Courtney Milan
    Christmas is Lydia’s favorite time of year, but even holiday cheer isn’t enough to erase the scourge of an event that could have ruined her reputation. Thankfully, only one other person knows about it: Dr. Jonas Grantham. She would rather forget he existed, but Jonas has other plans: he’s in love with Lydia, and intends to turn all her winters warm for as long as they live.

    A Rose in Winter, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
    Erienne Fleming’s beauty is legendary in her village of Mawbry. Everyone wants to marry her, but unfortunately, Erienne does not have a choice due to her father’s debt. So when she is married off to the mysterious Lord Saxton, known for his terrible moods and disfigurement from a fire years before—Erienne knows happiness will elude her forever. That is, until she learns his true heart, and finds herself falling for a man she once thought of as a beast. It is at this inopportune moment that a childhood love tempts her away, and Erienne must make a choice.

    The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley
    Carrie is an ambitious author who has her sights set on turning the story of a Jacobite invasion in 1708 into a successful novel. Especially since one of her ancestors lived the event. But Carrie soon finds herself lost in the snowstorm of truth and fiction, where they begin to merge.

    A Christmas Promise, by Mary Balogh
    Ellie and Randolph are meant to be: their perfect match and impending wedding is the perfect balance of wealth and title, and they are destined for a perfect union. Except that Ellie does not love him…and all she wants for Christmas is to marry a man she loves.

    Girls Made of Snow and Glass, by Melissa Bashardoust
    Mina’s life is upended when it is revealed her heart is not human—it is made of glass, and does not beat. Her magical father performed the devastating transformation with a terrible consequence: a glass heart cannot know love. But Mina is determined to know love, and will seduce a king in order to do so…

    Lord of Ice, by Gaelen Foley
    Damien lives alone, haunted by the trauma of war. But when he is named the guardian of a young ward, he is tempted both to re-enter society. Though he may have fallen prey to the chill of war, learning to love again will warm his heart.

    Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish, by Grace Burrows
    Sophie does not treasure her place in society the same way her family does—which is why a few nights alone in an empty mansion sounds like her Christmas wish has come true. But when a snowstorm, an abandoned child, and a brokenhearted man kind enough to offer assistance all conspire to disrupt her plans, she finds herself wishing for something new.

    A Winter Scandal, by Candace Camp
    Thea Bainbridge has always played by the rules of her society—and so when an infant is discovered in her church manger, she knows a man who does not abide them is to blame: Gabriel, the Lord Morecombe. But Gabriel is not afraid of scandal…instead, he finds himself drawn in both by the mystery of the child’s true parentage, and Thea’s determined spirit.

    Never Love a Highlander, by Maya Banks
    Caelen made a terrible mistake, but now he’s making things right: by marrying the bride his older brother jilted to heal the ongoing feud between two Highland clans. Rionna, his bride, may be interested in preserving the peace, but she’s vowed never to give her heart away—especially not to someone cold and guarded like him. But when a mutual enemy threatens their family, Rionna and Caelen unite to defeat it…and in the process, fall in (very, very steamy) love.

    Christmas Angel, by Jo Beverley
    Leander knows women love him. That’s why he wants a convenient marriage, one that will allow him to live life as he chooses—on his terms, and in anyone else’s bed. So when Judith Rossiter, the widow of the late poet Sebastian, decides to marry him to provide for her children, the arrangement couldn’t be more perfect. But she has secrets, and Leander finds himself wanting to uncover them, like plundering a virgin snow…

    The Scandal Before Christmas, by Elizabeth Essex
    Holiday novellas are short, sweet, and have just enough steam to keep you warm in winter. Ian Worth, a soldier, needs to marry before Christmas—days away from his next deployment to sea. So when he decides to marry Anne Lesley, a spinster with no other prospects (so she won’t ask questions), he believes all is well. But a snowstorm means they are trapped together, along with their secrets, and the desire growing between them…

    Bed of Roses, by Nora Roberts
    Nothing more romantic than a winter wedding! Wedding florist Emma has it all: her dream job, dream friends, and a dream love life. What she doesn’t have? One great love…and that’s where Jack comes in. But love isn’t always a bed of roses, even for those in the business of making it beautiful.

    All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire, by Kerrelyn Sparks
    This book combines my favorite things: holiday cheer, and vampires. Toni is on a mission to do the impossible: prove that vampires exist, so she can spring her BFF from a mental institution, where she’s doing a terrible job of convincing people she was attacked by them. So she decides to be a bodyguard for the Undead…never intending to fall in love with Ian, a five-hundred-year old vampire.

    Bring Me Home for Christmas, by Robyn Carr
    Denny broke Becca’s heart three years ago…and then he went off to war. By Christmas this year, she is going to rid her heart of the memories of him by crashing her brother’s hunting trip in search of some distraction (and maybe a tempting guy or two.) But of course, she finds Denny, and the snowstorm between them is even more powerful than the one raging outside.

    A Highlander Christmas, by Janet Chapman
    Camry was a NASA scientist…so why on earth did she leave her job to be a small-town dog-sitter? Only she knows, and she’s determined to keep it that way, by avoiding her family for the holidays. But when her rival, Luke, shows up to bring her home, a battle of the wills erupts between them.

    The Winter King, by C.L. Wilson
    We have reached the fantasy portion of this roundup! This gorgeous romance stars Wynter, a man determined to seek vengeance on a foreign kingdom’s King by marrying his daughter. Khamsin is afraid of marrying the notorious Wintercraig king…but nothing could be worse than her father’s abandonment. And so what starts as an act of revenge soon becomes an act of love—even as evil rises up around them, and a dark magic must be defeated.

    Shield of Winter, by Nalini Singh
    Vasic is a soldier with too much blood on his hands to fathom. Living on the fringes of society, he is drawn back into action to protect people against a deadly virus. Especially Ivy, who is determined to fight back against the contagion—and who gives Vasic something else he is afraid to lose.

    Winter Fire, by Elizabeth Lowell
    Sarah Kennedy needs no one to survive. Not after everything she’s been through. But against the backdrop of the Civil War, she finds herself caring for a wounded Civil War soldier, haunted by a past of his own.

    Dark Celebration, by Christine Feehan
    The Carpathian series continues with this Christmas tale starring Mikhail, the Prince of his kind, who is determined to protect them from extinction. But when his enemies target his wife and daughter, he is forced to turn to tactics unthinkable to him before in order to keep them safe.

    Chasing Christmas Eve, by Jill Shalvis
    It’s never too early for holiday cheer…but Colbie Albright is feeling anything but cheery when she show up in the Bay Area after escaping New York and her fame as a renowned YA author. And when she ends up literally underwater and is saved by Spencer Baldwin, she wants what she knows she shouldn’t have…and come Christmas, she’ll have to go back to her old life.

    Merry and Bright, by Debbie Macomber
    Debbie Macomber returns with a Christmas story just hot enough to lift your spirits as the weather grows colder. She tells the story of Merry Smith, who is living the life she wants—family, career, and holiday cheer. But her mother decides to meddle and give her the gift she won’t give herself: a social life, with prospective matches galore! And while what Merry finds in the online dating world makes her happy indeed, will the fantasy come crashing down when reality sets in?

    A Seduction at Christmas, by Cathy Maxwell
    Fiona has learned the hard way what lengths she’ll sink to in order to save herself…even if it means taking down a rake of a Duke. Posing as his ward, Fiona does her best to get the better of a man who has spent his life distrusting women…but in this steamy tale, even he cannot help but fall prey to her charms.

    Let it Snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
    Another winter-themed anthology with beautiful YA stories about a Christmas Eve snowstorm that turns the lives of three teens into a magical night of love.

    Wintersong, by S. Jae-Jones
    The Goblin King steals Liesl’s sister, drawing her into the strange and magical world of the Underground in order to save her. This YA novel is rife with gorgeous descriptions, forbidden romance, and the devastation surrounding what happens when a girl is torn between family and fate.

    Ice, by Linda Howard
    I love a good military thriller…especially one starring a guy good enough to make sure his dad’s neighbor is safe during an ice storm. Except Gabriel is not that guy; he doesn’t even LIKE Lolly, the neighbor he finds himself having to rescue from masked strangers in her window. United against a mysterious enemy, determined to survive the storm, Gabriel and Lolly make their way to safety, and to steamy romance.

    Get a Clue, by Jill Shalvis
    Breanne has been jilted, so getting snowed in on the honeymoon she should have had sounds like exactly what would happen to her. But when she discovers her room—the last room in the lodge—is already occupied by a very cute, very cynical cop, they strike a bargain to share the room.

    Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts
    Nate Burke got burned watching his police partner die, and so he chooses to start over in Alaska, prepared to endure the cold weather. In a town called Lunacy, what else could he expect but to have an affair with a pilot named Meg…while stalking a murderer on the loose that only he can track down.

    The Bite Before Christmas, by Lynsay Sands and Jeaniene Frost
    This book has multiple stories for the price of one! An anthology focused on Yuletide romance starring immortals from both of these authors’ bestselling series, you’re in for a bloody sexy read.

    Frozen, by L.A. Casey
    Neala and Darcy have a love-hate relationship for the ages. But when they both wind up at the toy store determined to buy the last toy in stock, their battle of wills…and sexual tension…burns brighter than a Christmas tree.

    Shadows and Lace, by Teresa Medeiros
    Rowena has been gambled into service for a mysterious—and potentially murderous—knight. Little does she know that her situation has been his ploy all along in a quest for vengeance. This pawn does not expect to love her captor, and the knight never expected to desire his pawn…

    Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
    One of the most beautiful and devastating historical novels in modern times, Cold Mountain tells the story of a couple torn apart by the Civil War. Inman, a Confederate soldier, is determined to trek across the mountains to return home to Ada, the woman he loves. But home is not the same place it was when he left it, and danger abounds as Ada discovers the lengths she will go to in order to survive without him.

    Winter Stroll, by Elin Hilderbrand
    The Quinn family returns in this novel full of holiday hope and laughter…that is, until a series of unexpected guests show up at the Winter Street Inn and throw a few wrenches in the romances everyone thought were going so well.

    Winter Garden, by Kristin Hannah
    Russia is known as a cold place, especially during World War II. In this romance that spans time and space between 1941 and 2000, the story of a mother’s determination to survive a war transforms her relationship with her estranged daughters.

    Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
    This paranormal YA novel has serious swoons! The heartbreaking love story of Grace—a girl fascinated by the wolves who live in her backyard, and Sam, a human boy cursed to change with the cold—is dark, romantic, and perfect for chilly nights.

    Winter, by Marissa Meyer
    This sci-fi epic tells the story of a Princess named Winter who dares to fall in love with a palace guard in defiance of her stepmother. A revolution brims beneath the surface and she must decide whether to team up with a group of brave girls to fight—even if it means losing the man she loves.

    Snow Falling, by Jane Villanueva
    I’m super excited about this winter romance—because it’s the “book-within-the-TV-show from the CW’s hit show Jane the Virgin! In Miami at the turn of the 20th century, a girl named Josephine believes her life is perfect: she has a good job at a hotel, and has just gotten engaged…but then a mysterious railroad tycoon shows up to disturb all her plans.

    A Cold Day for Murder, by Dana Stabenow
    A classic detective story that takes place in the Alaskan north. Kate has left the D.A.’s office for a return to her job as a cop…and when a ranger goes missing, she’s the only one brave enough to face the cold.

    Black Ice, by Becca Fitzpatrick
    The classic snowstorm thriller gets a YA twist: Britt is ready to hike the Teton Range, but then her ex-boyfriend shows up. The ex-boyfriend she can’t stop thinking about. The one she gets separated from by a snowstorm…only to be taken hostage, at which point she can only hope that he still loves her enough to find her.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes, by Diana Gabaldon
    So, since this is the 6th book in the Outlander series, I’d recommend reading the other books first…but the title is so wintery, I couldn’t resist including it! (Mild spoilers ahead.) This installment of the epic romance finds Jamie and Claire on the verge of the American Revolution, and worried about whether they will survive the battle to come.

    Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen Oyeyemi
    A fairytale retelling like no other. In 1953, Boy travels to a small town and marries a local man, becoming stepmother to his beautiful daughter, Snow. But Boy’s growing hatred towards Snow only increases when her baby, Bird, is born dark-skinned, revealing her husband’s family as African Americans passing for white.

    Snowfall at Willow Lake, by Susan Wiggs
    Sophie travels to dangerous places to help those in need—but after surviving a terrible trauma, she returns home to Willow Lake. She’s spent enough time saving others; now it’s time to save herself. And what she finds does exactly that: a love with Noah, the local vet, who ignites a passion within her she never thought she’d feel again.

    Biting Cold, by Chloe Neill
    Imagine being turned into a vampire without your consent…that’s what happened to Merit. But she’s made lemonade out of a dark situation, turning her position into one of power, tracking down a supernatural creature with the goal of causing havoc.

    Cold-Hearted Rake, by Lisa Kleypas
    Devon Ravenel is a rake, and proud of it—he wants no other responsibilities than figuring out which woman to charm that week. But when he finds himself responsible for the fates of three young girls after inheriting their father’s earldom—and one of them, in particular, who beguiles and tempts him—he knows it’s time for his cold heart to let in a little warmth.

    The Snow Queen, by Mercedes Lackey
    A queen with a heart of ice is accused of attacking innocent people, and in response she decides to journey through her kingdom of winter to find the imposter responsible for damaging her reputation.

    The Winter Crown, by Elizabeth Chadwick
    Fans of the classic movie Lion in Winter will love this historical novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine. Frustrated with her role as mother, isolated from her husband, and tempted by the promise of power, Eleanor makes a dangerous choice to defy her King and seize power for herself.

    Marrying Winterbourne, by Lisa Kleypas
    Ambition can turn the heart cold, which is what has happened to Rhys Winterborne; a common-born man who has risen to success. So when he decides he must bed Helen Revanel, he is unprepared to be met with ice. Helen finds herself tempted by Rhys’ passion and looks, but when an enemy threatens their growing love, she finds herself willing to risk it all to keep it.

    The Winds of Winter, by George R. R. Martin
    Okay, I admit it: this one is kind of a joke. Winter has come, but will The Winds of Winter ever be published?? Only time will tell, and we all know Westerosi winters are long.

    What winter romances do you love?

    The post 50 Delightful Winter Romances appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Cristina Merrill 4:00 pm on 2017/11/21 Permalink
    Tags: always you, , cajun crazy, denise grover swank, desire in a kiss, jeaniene frost, , , , , , , the brightest embers, wake a sleeping tiger   

    Romance Roundup: Soccer Coaches, Food Empire Heirs, and New Orleans Detectives 

    This week’s Romance Roundup includes a couple doing battle with demon realms, a fabulously wealthy and handsome man who wants to meet a nice, genuine woman, and a children’s soccer coach who is reunited with an old flame.

    Bay of Sighs, by Nora Roberts
    Mermaid lovers will delight in the second book in Roberts’ Guardians trilogy. The series features three women and three men on a quest to find three magic stars before an evil enemy gets to them first. This installment features Annika, a mermaid who needs to help find the water star. Also on her team is Sawyer King, a time and space-traveling hottie. As they work together, and with the others, they start falling for each other. And who can blame them? He’s a good-hearted hunk and she’s a sweet, innocent beauty with a swimmer’s body. This is seriously like all of our “Doctor Who” and “Little Mermaid” fantasies combined! Here’s hoping Annika and Sawyer manage to save the day—and that they have time for at least one romantic, non-work-related swimming session. (Available in paperback on November 28.)

    The Brightest Embers, by Jeaniene Frost
    Ivy and Adrian have gone through a lot together—think missing family members, curses, and keeping human and demon realms separated. They’ve managed to keep that romance alive, though. (Kudos to the two of you for not letting the little things bring you down!) But now things are about to get even harder. Ivy needs to find a relic that will save people who are trapped in demon realms, and this particular relic might also do her more harm than good. Adrian wants to use every tool at his disposal to keep her alive, but it’s not going to be easy on him, either. Here’s hoping these two manage to rescue all of the victims trapped in that pesky demon realm, and that they then take a relaxing vacation together that involves lounging under the sun while a butler brings them piña coladas! This is the third and final book in Frost’s A Broken Destiny series. (Available in paperback and NOOK on November 28.)

    Desire in a Kiss, by Nicki Night
    Christian Chandler is tired of meeting women who are after his money. He’s the heir to a major food empire, and let’s just say the ladies wouldn’t mind making a permanent financial situation with him. (In all fairness, Christian, they might ALSO be after your chiseled derrière, which should have its own holiday greeting card.) He decides to try the online dating thing under a fake name, and soon connects with Serenity Williams. She’s a non-gold-digging woman who recently started her own non-profit organization. (Serenity, where do we sign up for volunteering opportunities?!) She is falling hard for Christian, whom she knows as “Chris,” and our guy is loving every moment with her. Then she finds out that he’s a much bigger deal than he let on. Can Serenity forgive him? (Serenity, he has nothing but the best intentions! We promise!) This is the second book in Night’s Chandler Legacy series. (Available in paperback on November 21.)

    Cajun Crazy, by Sandra Hill
    Simone LeDeux has decided to leave the whole Chicago cop career thing behind her and help her mom recover from surgery. She heads home to New Orleans, and decides to start an agency called Legal Belles, which is devoted to catching lowlife, cheating spouses. (Three cheers for you, Simone!) Oh, and while she’s in town she’s decided to stay away from Cajun men. She’s dated them in the past, and they’ve all hurt her, and yet she’s always been irresistibly drawn to them. So, no. Then another one soon comes into her life. Adam Lanier is going to help her crack a very interesting new case. He has a body worth painting, plus he’s got that whole hot single dad thing going on, so he’s absolutely worthy of a second look. (Get on that ASAP, Simone! He’s totally different from all of the others!) This is the second book in Hill’s Cajun series. (Available in paperback and NOOK on November 28.)

    Wake a Sleeping Tiger, by Lora Leigh
    This is the latest book in Leigh’s very creative and extensive Breeds series, which is about women and men with deeply-rooted animal mating instincts who are trying to keep their secrets from us regular, boring humans. (Darn it!) Judd, a Bengal Breed, is living undercover as Cullen Maverick in Window Rock, Arizona. He is the commander of the Covert Law Enforcement Agency. His Bengal traits are recessed, so he gets by okay without drawing too much unwanted attention to himself, other than the fact that he’s super hot. Then he runs into Chelsea Martinez, and all of those supposedly-hidden tiger traits start bubbling up to the surface. Cullen—excuse me, Judd—get down to it and show us what you’re capable of! (Available in paperback on November 28.)

    Always You, by Denise Grover Swank
    Matt Osborn loves coaching his five-year-old nephew’s soccer team, but he didn’t realize just how, ahem, enthusiastic for him the kids’ moms would be. (Really, Matt? With those arms and that smile of yours?) He has zero desire to get serious with anyone. Unlike his male friends, he won’t be giving in to the whole matrimony thing. One of the ladies, though, is single mom Anna. She and Matt go WAY back. In fact, they almost got engaged at one point. Now she’s taking care of her dad, so she’s rather busy. That loving feeling hasn’t gone away, though, and it soon comes back stronger than ever. Come on, you two! The past is the past, let it go, move forward, and all of that jazz! This is the third book in Swank’s Bachelor Brotherhood series. (Available in paperback and NOOK on November 28.)

    What romance novels are you excited for this week?

    The post Romance Roundup: Soccer Coaches, Food Empire Heirs, and New Orleans Detectives appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sara Brady 5:00 pm on 2014/07/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , Jayne Denker, jeaniene frost, Kristin Newman, , Louis Zamperini, On Dublin Street, Picture This, , The Beautiful Ashes, , , , What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding   

    How to Break Out of a Reading Rut 

    The Beautiful Ashes

    Book ruts: they happen to all of us. My most recent book rut is angsty and decidedly across-the-pond in flavor; I just finished bingeing on Samantha Young’s entire On Dublin Street series, and while I loved it, I now need a palate cleanser after all that emotional upheaval and first-person Scottishness. (Three first-person books in a row starts to feel like an English 205 seminar on the epistolary novel, you know? I’m looking at you, Pamela.) Here’s what’s on my docket—perhaps one of these reads will shake out of your current reading groove and inspire you to venture into uncharted territory:

    Some Thrilling Nonfiction

    The recent passing of Louis Zamperini at age 97 coincided with the first trailer for Angelina Jolie’s film version of Laura Hillenbrand‘s nonfiction epic, Unbroken. I won’t go into all the details (because between the obituary and the trailer, you’re spoiled enough), but suffice to say Zamperini led an awe-inspiring life, in the most literal sense of that phrase. The book is a fast, cinematic read, and even before you get to the real meat of Zamperini’s story, enjoy these delightful details of the 1936 American Olympians’ Atlantic crossing:

    Everyone was fighting for training space. Gymnasts set up their apparatuses, but with the ship swaying, they kept getting bucked off. Basketball players did passing drills on deck, but the wind kept jettisoning balls into the Atlantic. Fencers lurched all over the ship. The water athletes discovered that the salt water in the ship’s tiny pool sloshed back and forth vehemently, two feet deep one moment, seven feet the next, creating waves so large, one water polo man took up bodysurfing. Every large roll heaved most of the water, and everyone in it, onto the deck, so the coaches had to tie the swimmers to the wall…In high seas, the runners were buffeted about, all staggering in one direction, then in the other.

    A Funny, Light Romance.

    Jayne Denker‘s Picture This is a sweet little ordinary-girl-meets-movie-star romance that’s so featherlight it nearly floats away, and that’s exactly what I wanted after a week in Samantha Young’s world o’ tears. I’ve never been one for “cozy” romances, but this one manages to combine a few tropes that set off warning bells in my head—a small town full of meddlers, a quirky grandma—and come up with a gently heart-warming book that actually made me laugh out loud.

    The door to the house opened, and Celia’s mother poked her head out. “What’s taking you two so long? The hot tea’s getting cold and the iced tea is getting hot. Also, you’re confusing the dog. So—in or out. Let’s go.”

    Something Paranormal

    I’ve enjoyed Jeaniene Frost‘s vampire books for years (she’s actually the only writer I trust with vampires anymore—and I know how insane that sounds). Her first new adult title, The Beautiful Ashes, is out next month and I’m always excited about a favorite author doing a new thing.

    A Globe-Trotting Memoir

    TV writer Kristin Newman‘s What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding may have an abrasive title, but it’s not a screed against settling down and having kids. Rather, it’s about the process of figuring out who you are when that process happens to take a little longer—and involve sexy people of many nationalities (as, ideally, the maturation process should). I laughed a lot reading this (particularly when some fellow travelers taught Newman the Dutch word swaffle: “which means ‘to hit something with your flaccid penis.’ This is apparently something the Dutch do often enough that they needed a word for it”), and then went to find my passport.

    A Lush, Much-Anticipated Historical.

    Courtney Milan‘s The Suffragette Scandal came out last week, and I’ve never not loved one of Milan’s books, so the anticipation has been delicious. If I didn’t have, you know, a job, I would spend the rest of July in my bed, happily ensconced in the nineteenth century.

    How do you break a reading rut?

     
  • Sara Brady 7:00 pm on 2014/06/04 Permalink
    Tags: , jeaniene frost, , , paranormal, puppies, , , , Shelly Laurenston,   

    Knee-Deep in Backstory: Jumping Into an Established Series 

    Festive in Death

    A few weeks ago, I read a book—Shelly Laurenston’s Bite Me—which, unbeknownst to me, was the ninth in a long-running series. I’d picked it up because the first two lines of the tease (“Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill”) grabbed me by the nose and yanked. I mean—honey badgers? That sounded like the kind of bananapants good time I needed after a glut of new-adult titles that were heavy on the cutting and eating disorders and sexual assaults and dead parents.

    And then I started Bite Me, and was utterly lost before I even finished the author’s note—which was apologizing for the fact that the cover shows a Siberian tiger, when her hero is in fact a shapeshifter who’s a cross between a tiger and a grizzly bear (because the Kensington art department can only accomplish so many miracles in a month, I guess). I’m not a huge paranormal reader, so I was unprepared for a world of people who can literally turn into animals—like, there’s a dude chowing down on a handful of bamboo on page 10 because he’s a panda shifter. But I was hooked on Laurenston’s quicksand writing style, so I went back to the beginning and binged on the entire series. (I may, at one point, have actually growled at someone on the subway who stepped on my foot while I was reading Bear Meets Girl.)

    This got me to thinking about the cost of entry for some of our favorite multibook series. Is it possible to jump right into the middle of a series and expect to understand anything? Or do you have to spend a month and a half doing homework before you can enjoy the newest JD Robb?

    Author: Shelly Laurenston
    Series: Pride Series

    Here’s your primer on the Pride Series: there are people who live among us who can shape-shift into lions, tigers, and bears. (And wolves, hyenas, and honey badgers—not to mention the hybrids. Yep: ligers.) They have their own restaurants, their own pro sports teams, their own law enforcement agencies, their own complicated social structures—the wolves and other canine shifters live in packs, the lions in female-led prides, and the honey badgers are lunatic criminals, mostly. And they tend to have a lot of really hot sex (thankfully while in their human forms). These books are utterly engrossing once you suspend your disbelief, and funny as hell—every time one of the male lions started shrieking about his glorious, beautiful hair I burst out laughing.
    Need to read from the beginning? It helps to start with the novella that kicks everything off, the first half of The Mane Event. Even there, Laurenston doesn’t devote a lot of words to world-building; her only concession to readers who might be feeling a bit lost is making the heroine of the first story a non-shapeshifting human, so the lion she falls in love with has to explain this whole by-the-way-sweetheart-I’m-a-lion thing. There is an ongoing mystery running through the series, but it’s fairly easy to catch on. The only drawback to jumping in midstream is the mind-boggling number of names and relationships Laurenston crams in—there aren’t a whole lot of only children in the shapeshifter world, and it can be tough to keep track of all the wolf cousins and jackal siblings.

    Author: Jill Shalvis
    Series:
    Animal Magnetism
    Shalvis’s latest series revolves around a veterinary clinic in a remote town in Idaho’s Bitterroot Mountains. Like all Shalvis heroes, the dudes are great big burly manly men, and in this series they do things like heal wounded puppies. These books are catnip if you like any of the following: mountains, animals, emotionally fragile bad-boy heroes who are allergic to shirts. The fifth book, Then Came You, is out July 1 and it is smokin’ hot.
    Need to read from the beginning? No. You’ll miss some nuances, but you’ll understand everything. The Sunshine, Idaho, world is less densely knit than in Shalvis’s long-running Lucky Harbor series (and has a lot less adorable-small-town quirkiness than that series, which I appreciate). The earlier books are all delightful, but I highly recommend the fourth, Rumor Has It, for the sensitively drawn hero, a soldier who comes home with PTSD.

    Author: J.D. Robb
    Series:
    In Death
    The futuristic crime series Nora Roberts has been writing under an alias for the past nineteen years is up to forty-nine stories, including novellas, with Festive in Death out in September. The series begins in 2058, with New York cop Eve Dallas investigating a mysterious, drop-dead sexy billionaire, Roarke, who might be a misogynistic serial killer. (Two-decade-old spoiler alert: if he were a misogynistic serial killer, there wouldn’t be forty-nine books.) Both Eve and Roarke are damaged characters who slowly find healing with each other, and as the series matures, the rather antisocial Eve’s very limited world expands to include a husband, a partner (the beat-cop kind), a whole host of colorful friends, and a very fat, surly cat.
    Need to read from the beginning? Yeah, this is the series with the steepest buy-in. You at least need to read the first three books, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, and Immortal in Death, which set up Eve and Roarke’s relationship and lay the groundwork for the sprawling epic that follows. From there if you want highlights, you can skip to the emotionally wrenching Judgment in Death, then the truly terrifying Visions in Death. The events of 2005’s Origin in Death have been a recurring theme in many of the recent books as well.

    Author: Jeaniene Frost
    Series: Night Huntress

    In Halfway to the Grave, Cat Crawfield is a college student who hunts vampires in her spare time, hoping one of them will turn out to be the vampire who raped her mother, resulting in half-vampire Cat’s conception. And then she meets Bones, a two-hundred-something-year-old undead bounty hunter who’s a bit more of a challenge than the saps she usually stakes. There are six more books after that one—the series wrapped up earlier this year with Up From the Grave—in which Cat and Bones meet a voodoo queen, drink a lot (a lot) of blood, and screw each other dimwitted, all while fighting Teh Evil. I just love this series (which has also spawned four spinoff novels set in the same world) because it makes paranormal craziness feel like it has real-world consequences.
    Need to read from the beginning? Yes. There’s a Rubicon in book four that won’t make any sense if you haven’t read the earlier books. Plus, some characters in later books become, uh…ghosts. So you’ll want continuity there.

    What series have you jumped into recently?

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
esc
cancel