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  • Cristina Merrill 6:00 pm on 2019/08/29 Permalink
    Tags: , hot and badgered, hot shot, how to cross a marquess, i've got you babe, , lynette austin, , , , Shelly Laurenston, , the aussie next door, the macgregor brides   

    Romance Roundup: Australian Adventures, Feuding Neighbors, and Warm-hearted Marines 

    This week’s Romance Roundup includes two shifters who have an exceptionally sexy meet cute, an American woman in Australia who has a hot Aussie neighbor, and a former Marine whose lonely world is about to become not-so-lonely. 

    Hot and Badgered, by Shelly Laurenston
    Grizzly shifter Berg Dunn was just hanging out in his hotel room and minding his own business (all while lounging in bed shirtless and looking so fine, we presume) when Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan landed face-first (and nekkid) on his balcony. (Ouchies, Charlie! Hang tight while we run and get you some pain medication and a fluffy bathrobe!) Charlie clearly has some issues going on, and yet the first thing she does upon seeing Berg is ask him to give her his best gun. (#priorities) The thing is, our gal is on a mission to save her sisters because, frankly, their wastrel father certainly isn’t going to lift a finger to help. Fortunately, Berg is very much willing to help Charlie, and he will actually be quite useful. He’s in the protection specialist field, which means he’s more than equipped (hehe) to give Charlie a helping hand. Here’s hoping that Charlie and Berg rescue Charlie’s sisters ASAP—and that afterwards they go straight back to that hotel room where they first met and make excellent use of it! This is the first book in Laurenston’s Honey Badger Chronicles. (Available in paperback, audiobook, and NOOK on August 27.)

    The Aussie Next Door, by Stefanie London
    Angie Donovan had barely stepped off of the plane in Australia when she thought “Yep, I’m doing whatever it takes to stay here!” She lived in many foster homes growing up and now she’s finally found a place where she feels she belongs. Now she has two months to find herself a nice Australian man who will marry her and make her visa issues disappear. She starts to date a myriad of dudes, but none of them seem as nice as her sexy neighbor, Jace Walters. (Angie, it sounds like you need to put on your cutest outfit and go ask Jace for a cup of sugar! And whether you want an actual cup of sugar or whether sugar is a euphemism for something else, we say go for it!) Jace grew up in a huge family with zero privacy, and now he’s relishing living alone. These two people may come from very different backgrounds, but it soon becomes clear that they can complement each other in all kinds of fun ways. Here’s hoping they realize they are perfect for each other, that Jace pops the question pronto, and that their honeymoon involves local, eco-friendly activities. (Available in paperback and NOOK on August 27.) 

    The MacGregor Brides, by Nora Roberts
    Family patriarch Daniel MacGregor is 90-years-old—and still kicking in the matchmaking department. He’s already helped his children find the loves of their lives, and now he’s focused on helping his beloved granddaughters find husbands. The thing is, Laura, Gwendolyn, and Julia are all happily engaged—in their careers. (That’s right, ladies! You truck on and pursue your passions and NEVER give them up for ANYONE! That said, please listen to your grandfather!) Fortunately, Grandpa MacGregor has found each lady an exceptional guy. For Laura, there is Royce, a security pro and manly man with broad shoulders and an easy smile. (Laura, you go, girl!) Gwendolyn gets Branson, a mystery writer who needs her medical expertise and ends up wanting her heart. (Branson, when can we get our free and autographed copies of your book? Thanks!) Then there’s Julia, who flips houses and butts heads with Cullum, construction pro and enemy. (Oh, come on, Julia! Admit that you want to help Cullum out of his toolbelt every night!) Yes, we suspect that wedding bells will be ringing quite soon for each of these very special couples! This reprint is part of Roberts’ MacGregors series. (Available in paperback on August 27.)

    How To Cross a Marquess, by Jane Ashford
    Neighbors Fenella Fairclough and the Marquess of Chatton (aka Roger) have a long history. Once upon a time, their parents tried to make them get married and they were like “Nope, leave us alone we hate each other step away now and die, enemies, die!” They each went their separate ways. Roger went on to marry someone else and Fenella went to live with her grandmother, who helped her overcome her shyness. Fast forward a few years later and Roger and Fenella are back in the neighborhood. Roger is a widower and Fenella is not the timid girl she used to be. (Oh, and Roger still has a beautiful body. Better, even.) Fenella and Roger, it sounds like the two of you need to let bygones be bygones and spend some real quality time together. Preferably, this will involve walking to an isolated meadow far away from prying eyes and getting nekkid. Will these two childhood enemies realize that their adult versions are so much better and deserve a second chance? And will they finally tear down the proverbial fence—and then proceed to tear off each other’s clothes? This is the third book in Ashford’s Way to a Lord’s Heart series. (Available in paperback and NOOK on August 27.)

    I’ve Got You, Babe, by Lynnette Austin
    All former Marine Tucker Wylder wants to do is tinker away in his family’s vintage car restoration business in the hopes that it will distract him from a very painful past. Indeed, he is determined to avoid trouble and drama and just life in general at all costs. (Tucker, buddy, sounds like you need—and deserve—a long, relaxing fishing trip!) Then single mom Elisa Danvers and her three-year-old daughter, Daisy, arrive in Misty Bottoms, Georgia, which immediately puts Tucker on Protective And Loving alert. This is good, because Elisa desperately needs a helping hand. She’s a bit independent, though, so it might take a bit of convincing to make her accept help. (Tucker. Your shirt. Lose it.) Tucker offers to take Elisa and her daughter in until Elisa gets back on her feet, because no amount of pain or inner demons can make him forget that he is a perfect gentleman who would NEVER leave a lady in distress. (Tucker, you are THE BEST!) It doesn’t take Tucker long to realize that he and Elisa and Daisy are the perfect match and that they would all make a beautiful family! This is the second book in Austin’s Must Love Babies series. (Available in paperback and NOOK on August 27.) 

    Hot Shot, by Fern Michaels
    Lawyer Lizzie Fox is a member of The Sisterhood, a group of women intent on getting justice for all. (Sounds idyllic! How do we all join the club and contribute to the cause?) Lizzie’s husband, Cosmo Crickett, has just been shot, and the group has no idea who did it or why. That said, Cosmo does have some pretty powerful enemies, so the group bands together to comfort Lizzie and help her solve the mystery. (Seriously, how do we join this group?!) It turns out that Cosmo’s troubles may stem from Happy Village, a community he built for seniors who have lost spouses that has a not-so-happy history. (Think old rival gangs that are still fighting.) Lizzie and company will need to work very hard—and stay on their toes—if they’re going to defeat these horrible troublemakers. Good luck, all! When it’s over, please, please, please let us into your beautiful circle! This is the fifth book in Michaels’ The Men of the Sisterhood series. (Available in paperback on August 27.)

    What new romance novels are you excited about this week?

    The post Romance Roundup: Australian Adventures, Feuding Neighbors, and Warm-hearted Marines appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sara Brady 7:00 pm on 2014/06/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , 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
    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
    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?

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