Archive for the ‘contest’ Category

New contest: copy of Sweet Disorder, plus swag pack!

Sweet Disorder, the first in my Lively St. Lemeston Regency-set small town series, is out this month! So, I’m giving away a copy of the e-book in the format of your choice, plus I will mail the winner a swag pack of promotional materials for the book.

SweetDisorder_small

Nick Dymond enjoyed the rough-and-tumble military life until a bullet to the leg sent him home to his emotionally distant, politically obsessed family. For months, he’s lived alone with his depression, blockaded in his lodgings. But with his younger brother desperate to win the local election, Nick has a new set of marching orders: dust off the legendary family charm and maneuver the beautiful Phoebe Sparks into a politically advantageous marriage.

One marriage was enough for Phoebe. Under her town’s by-laws, though, she owns a vote that only a husband can cast. Much as she would love to simply ignore the unappetizing matrimonial candidate pushed at her by the handsome earl’s son, she can’t. Her teenage sister is pregnant, and Phoebe’s last-ditch defense against her sister’s ruin is her vote-and her hand.

Nick and Phoebe soon realize the only match their hearts will accept is the one society will not allow. But as election intrigue turns dark, they’ll have to cast the cruelest vote of all: loyalty…or love.

Read the first chapter.

swag pack

The swag pack will include: a signed promotional postcard (personalized to your specifications), 1 rosette (with 2 options to pick from), 4 bookmarks with tassels, and 5 1″ pinback buttons of your choice.

A word of explanation: Sweet Disorder focuses on a hotly contested local political election. Back in the day in England, it was common for local parties to have colors like a sports team. In Lively St. Lemeston, the party affiliated with the Whigs is orange and purple, while the Tories are pink and white. (Sweet Disorder focuses on the Whigs, while we’ll get to meet more Tories in True Pretenses.)

The rosettes are similar to something the characters themselves might have worn, and the buttons are a pastiche of old and contemporary design elements. If you want to wait to read the book before choosing your buttons and rosette, that can be arranged!

I’ve posted some close-ups of the buttons and a list of available slogans.

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your correct e-mail address (NOT in the body of the comment, but in the form where it says Name:, Mail:, Website:, make sure the e-mail address you enter for “Mail” is right). It won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

This giveaway is open internationally.

New contest: “A Lily Among Thorns” by Rose Lerner

ETA: This contest is now closed. My darling friend Masha, to whom the book is dedicated, saw this and generously offered her own extra copy as well, so I was able to give away two books! Olu and S., you won.

So Sweet Disorder comes out next month. Soon after, my first two books will be rereleased by Samhain. (In fact, AS I WAS TYPING THIS POST, In for a Penny went up on Amazon for Kindle pre-order. Wooo!) In honor of that, and to celebrate closing one chapter in my career (one that had a lot of very wonderful things in it, even if it sometimes feels shadowed now by what happened with Dorchester) and opening another, I’m going to give away something very special to me: my very last unused copy of the trade paperback of A Lily Among Thorns.

LILY

It’s a little hard for me to let go of this, but I think it’s time. The book will of course be signed and personalized however you like. So:

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your correct e-mail address (NOT in the body of the comment, but in the form where it says Name:, Mail:, Website:, make sure the e-mail address you enter for “Mail” is right). It won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

I hate to do this, but this giveaway is only open to Canada and the US. Unfortunately international shipping rates recently went up, and for the time being, I can’t mail books overseas.

New contest: “The Lotus Palace” by Jeannie Lin

This contest is now closed. Jackie won the book!

Jeannie Lin is one of those authors for me where the moment I start the book, I get an immediate sense of rightness and satisfaction, and I continue to feel that way right up until the end.

Ending a book in a way that is completely satisfying is one of the most difficult things to do. I can think of loads of books where I love love love everything about it…except I wish the ending had just been a little different.

Jeannie Lin knows exactly how to write an ending so that it feels like the best way, the only way the story could have gone, and so that nothing is rushed or drags on. Plus her characters always feel so real and endearing, and the dilemmas they face seem insurmountable…until they’re surmounted.

The Lotus Palace is first in a new Tang Dynasty series and I can’t wait to read the next one! And I’ve got a signed copy to give away.

cover of The Lotus Palace, a woman in a red silk robe against a red background
It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang Li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans. At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China…

Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties. Street-smart and practical, she’s content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress–until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.

Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue-ying can barely imagine, yet alone share, but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery, they both start to dream of a different life. Yet Bai Huang’s position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine–will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?

 

I absolutely adored Yue-ying. Heroines who have been forced by life to become deeply practical, even cynical, but who feel deeply underneath are one of my top favorite tropes, and this delivered–and yet Yue-ying retained a sweetness and kindness despite her inability to trust or even hope, which I really enjoyed.

Bai is also one of my favorite tropes, the aristocrat posing as a loveable but airheaded fop for a Secret Reason. I loved how his charm and sincerity with Yue-ying, and his earnest determination to help people, weren’t allowed to wipe away his rich, privileged cluelessness. He had some hard lessons to learn and it was great to watch him learn them.

Plus, a compelling murder mystery! What more can you ask for?

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your correct e-mail address (NOT in the body of the comment, but in the form where it says Name:, Mail:, Website:, make sure the e-mail address you enter for “Mail” is right). It won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

NB: I got this book signed at a conference. Ms. Lin isn’t involved in the giveaway and the book isn’t personalized. So if you want to tell her how much you loved her books, this isn’t the place. That would be <http://www.jeannielin.com/lotus-palace/”>her website. (But this IS the place to tell ME how much you loved it!)

New contest: “A Wedding in Springtime” by Amanda Forester

ETA: This contest is closed. Jeanne won the book!

Amanda Forester’s new Regency, A Midsummer Bride, is out next week, so I thought this would be a good time to give away a signed copy of the first in her Marriage Mart series (tied together by a society matchmaker), A Wedding in Springtime.

AWiS

I should warn you, if you need 100% historical accuracy to enjoy a story, this is probably not the book for you. But I loved it. I’ve been mostly drawn to deeply emotional, heartwrenching historicals recently (although I need those to have a sense of humor, too). It was wonderful and refreshing to read a book that reminded me of the slim, witty Jane-Austen-and-Heyeresque Regencies I ate up in high school–sparkling, sweet comedies of manners.

I’d still be eating those books up if they were still being published, let me tell you. Are there still loads of these out there and I just haven’t been reading them? Recommend me some witty romps, guys! I adore Julia Quinn, obviously, but apart from her I’ve completely fallen away from that part of the genre.

A Wedding in Springtime hearkens back to the faves of my youth in the best possible way, with the same focus on banter and conversational chemistry. There’s even a street urchin the hero reluctantly brings into his home to please the soft-hearted heroine! I love that trope, and I was thrilled when the urchin actually turned out to have a key part to play in the plot.

The heroine is endearing, the hero is an adorkable sweetheart (the highest praise I can give a hero!) who is completely, satisfyingly smitten from the moment he sees the heroine, the secondary characters are drawn sharply and with warm-hearted generosity, and best of all…

…the jokes are funny. I cannot emphasize enough how funny the jokes are. I laughed out loud many, many times reading this book. More than anything else, the humor kept me enthusiastically engaged all the way to the last page.

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your correct e-mail address (NOT in the body of the comment, just in the form where it says Name:, Mail:, Website:, make sure the e-mail address you enter for “Mail” is right). It won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

NB: I got this book signed at a conference. Amanda isn’t involved in the giveaway and the book isn’t personalized. So if you want to tell her how much you loved her books, this isn’t the place. That would be her website. (But this IS the place to tell ME how much you loved it!)

New contest: “Unclaimed” by Courtney Milan

ETA 10/8/13: This contest is now closed. Aislinn won the book!

It is no surprise that I love stories about sweet, earnest heroes and embittered courtesan heroines. So I have a special place in my heart for Courtney Milan’s incredible Unclaimed, the second book in her Turner brothers series.

HER ONLY HOPE FOR SURVIVAL…

Handsome, wealthy and respected, Sir Mark Turner is the most sought-after bachelor in all of London–and he’s known far and wide for his irreproachable character. But behind his virtuous reputation lies a passionate nature he keeps carefully in check…until he meets the beautiful Jessica Farleigh, the woman he’s waited for all his life.

IS TO RUIN THE MAN SHE LOVES…

But Jessica is a courtesan, not the genteel lady Sir Mark believes. Desperate to win free of a life she despises, she seizes her chance when Mark’s enemies make her an offer she can’t refuse: Seduce Mark and tarnish his good name, and a princely sum will be hers. Yet as she comes to know the man she’s sworn to destroy, Jessica will be forced to choose between the future she needs–and the love she knows is impossible.

In my goodreads review I said (among other gushy things): “Courtney Milan is a genius in many ways, but one of my favorite things about her writing is the sheer depth of longing in her books. I bought Mark and Jessica as meant for each other within seconds of them meeting, their connection was so intense and real. And I felt Jessica’s bitter loneliness in my bones.”

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your e-mail address on the comment form (not in the body of the comment itself, just where it says NAME: URL: EMAIL:). It won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

NB: Courtney isn’t involved in the giveaway and the signed book isn’t personalized. So if you want to tell her how much you loved her book, this isn’t the place. That would be her website. (But this IS the place to tell ME how much you loved it!)

Good luck!

New contest: “A Lady Awakened” by Cecilia Grant!

ETA: This contest is closed. Chelsea B. won the book!

So…I just read the third Blackshear book, A Woman Entangled, which is a bit of a problem because ALL I WANT TO DO RIGHT NOW IS TALK ABOUT HOW GREAT THAT BOOK IS. So great! Not to mention perfectly structured and completely satisfying all the way to the last page. I ended that book with the biggest smile on my face, and I love all the characters, and the protagonists’ unique combination of showmanship/romanticism and practicality/conventionality, was so incredibly appealing and vividly drawn. So I thought this might be a good time to give away a signed copy of the first Blackshear book, A Lady Awakened!

Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate—and housemaids—from a predatory brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes…for a fee.

Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh–only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all…love?

I was honored to have Cecilia as a guest on her blog tour back when ALA first came out. You can read her awesome interview and also read me fangirling all over her about

1) the sex scenes, which Martha steadfastly refuses to enjoy for quite a while and poor rakish Theo starts out sort of bemused (“but…my prowess!”) and ends up really quite overset by the whole thing (before, obviously, a turnaround full of orgasms and other pleasant things!). Very unique, and VERY hot
2) the tightly emotionally controlled heroine and the hero who helps her open up (one of my favorite things in the ENTIRE WORLD as you…may have guessed from reading my books, although I like to think that my next couple of books will be a bit different)
3) Cecilia’s great taste in TV
4) &c.

Here is what Smart Bitch Sarah Wendell had to say about it: “I am throwing my hands up at the idea that you may not read this book. Please go get a copy. It is to be savored and enjoyed while each character grows into someone amazing, people I have not been able to stop thinking about.”

SO. Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your e-mail address on the comment form (not in the body of the comment itself, just where it says NAME: URL: EMAIL:). It won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

NB: Cecilia isn’t involved in the giveaway and the book isn’t personalized. So if you want to tell her how much you loved her book, this isn’t the place. That would be her website. (But this IS the place to tell ME how much you loved it!)

New contest: “The Black Hawk” by Joanna Bourne

ETA (7/4/13): This contest is closed. Kylan won the book! A new contest (for Cecilia Grant’s A Lady Awakened) will open on Monday 7/8.

Do I even need to say anything about this book? Or can I just link to the 2012 AllAboutRomance reader poll, in which this book won in SEVEN CATEGORIES?

I’ll just list those categories, shall I?

Best Romance
Best Historical Romance Not Set in the U.K.
Biggest Tearjerker (Tied with Eloisa James’s When Beauty Tamed the Beast)
Best Romance Hero
Best Romance Heroine
Most Kickass Heroine
Best Romance Couple

So there you have it. Personally, I imagine it had to be a close-run thing in Best Love Scenes too. That one with the tree in the rain…let’s just say I remember it very vividly.

It also won a RITA.

I can see that I was equally tongue-tied in my goodreads review, which reads simply “★★★★★ It was wonderful to see more of Justine and Adrian. I love these characters so much, and they love each other so much, and <333! I've been waiting for this book a long time, and it was worth it!" Yeah, that about sums it up.

book cover: A man in a red-lined cloak and open but tucked in shirt

He is her enemy.
He is her lover.
He is her only hope.

Someone is stalking agent Justine DeCabrillac through London’s gray streets. Under cover of the rain, the assassin strikes–and Justine staggers to the door of the one man who can save her. The man she once loved. The man she hated. Adrian Hawkhurst.

Adrian wanted the treacherous beauty known as “Owl” back in his bed, but not wounded and clinging to life. Now, as he helps her heal, the two must learn to trust each other to confront the hidden menace that’s trying to kill them–and survive long enough to explore the passion simmering between them once again…

If you haven’t read a book by Joanna Bourne yet, I’d actually recommend starting at the beginning–but enter this contest anyway because you’ll get through the first three in a week and then you’ll want this one!

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your e-mail address on the comment form–it won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

NB: this is a copy I got signed at the RWA National Conference. Ms. Bourne isn’t involved in the giveaway and the book isn’t personalized. So if you want to tell her how much you loved her book, this isn’t the place. That would be her website. (But this IS the place to tell ME how much you loved it!)

New contest: “A Night to Surrender” and “A Week to be Wicked” by Tessa Dare

ETA: This contest is closed.

Tessa Dare’s third Spindle Cove book, A Lady by Midnight, is out this week, so I thought it would be a good time to give away the first two books in the series!

cover of A Night to Surrender

Book 1: A Night to Surrender. Spindle Cove is Susanna Finch’s brainchild: a community for troubled women, where they can be free to be themselves without having to worry about men.

Here in Spindle Cove, young ladies enjoy a wholesome, improving atmosphere.” Susanna indicated a knot of ladies clustered by the hearth, industriously engaged in needlework. “See? The picture of good health and genteel refinement.”

In unison, the young ladies looked up from their work and smiled placid, demure smiles.

Excellent. She gave them an approving nod.

Ordinarily, the ladies of Spindle Cove would never waste such a beautiful afternoon stitching indoors. They would be rambling the countryside, or sea bathing in the cove, or climbing the bluffs. But on days like these, when new visitors came to the village, everyone understood some pretense at propriety was necessary.

But when the government decides Spindle Cove could be a target for a landing by Napoleon’s forces, Victor Bramwell is sent to organize a militia. Suddenly Spindle Cove is full of men, and Susanna’s peaceful community is at risk.

What I love most about this book is that the hero is an alpha…and so is the heroine. Watching them fight and maneuver and flirt to come out on top as the chief authority in Spindle Cove is incredibly awesome! (And sexy…) Plus there’s lots of heartwrenching family drama and a fantastic cast of minor characters (out of which I hope to see many more books!).

But even more than A Night to Surrender, I love:

cover of a A Week to Be Wicked

Book 2: A Week to Be Wicked. And this one’s signed by the author!

Geologist and spinster Miranda Highwood wants two things: keep rake Colin Sandhurst away from her sister, and get to Edinburgh in time to present at a scientific conference. She decides to kill two birds with one stone and talks Colin into pretending to elope with her to Scotland.

This book contains so many of my favorite things, I don’t even know where to start: geek heroines, fossils, a rake who’s a rake because he can’t sleep when he’s alone in the bed (seriously, one of my favorite tropes EVER), a roadtrip, making up exciting fake identities together, making out “just to see what it’s like”…the list goes on. Miranda and Colin are both so precious and heartbreaking and I love them madly.

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your e-mail address on the comment form–it won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

NB: I got AWtBW signed at the RWA National Conference. Ms. Dare isn’t involved in the giveaway and the book isn’t personalized. So if you want to tell her how much you loved her books, this isn’t the place. That would be her website. (But this IS the place to tell ME how much you loved it!)

New contest: “Wild Ride” by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

ETA: This contest is closed. The winner is Justine!

I’m giving away a copy of Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, signed by Jenny Crusie. She is one of my absolute idols and I’m so excited to have met her and be able to do this!

cover of Wild Ride, showing an outsized full moon rising behind a roller coaster. tagline: 'Get ready for the thrill of a lifetime'
This one isn’t a romance, although both main characters do have romance subplots–it’s a found family story, which I love just as much! The main characters are Mab, restorer of old amusement parks and carnival art (and isn’t that a cool job?) and Ethan, an ex-Special Forces guy whose family has traditionally guarded the demons held prisoner in their old amusement park.

Here’s what I said about this book in my Goodreads review:

I knew in advance that I would love this book because it was by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer and because it was about an amusement park that is also a demon prison.

I adored every character, and the plot was fabulous. I especially loved the way the portrayal of demons started out very black/white, good/evil, and then grew more nuanced. (This is what I wanted so badly to see on Buffy and never did–yes, we got demon and vampire characters who were obviously not evil, or not more evil than humans anyway, but the ideology never changed from “stake them on sight, they HAVE NO SOUL!”)

I think my favorite character was Cindy, the ice-cream maker. I loved her ice cream and how her subconscious manifests as dragons and how when the demons were acting out everyone’s worst fear, they chanted at her “Hungry, hungry, can’t feed us!” What can I say, I’m a cook.

Plus, I loved the recurring theme of the fortune “He loves you as much as he can, but he cannot love you very much,” because my mom actually got that fortune one time.

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your e-mail address on the comment form–it won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

NB: this is a copy I got signed at the RWA National Conference. Ms. Crusie isn’t involved in the giveaway and the book isn’t personalized. So if you want to tell her how much you loved her book, this isn’t the place. That would be her website. (But this IS the place to tell ME how much you loved it!)

New contest: “Everything I Know About Love, I Learned From Romance Novels” by Sarah Wendell

This contest is now closed. The winner is Kim!

I’m giving away a signed copy of Smart Bitch Sarah Wendell’s Everything I Know About Love, I Learned From Romance Novels!

This book is exactly what the title says–it talks about what romances have to teach us about love, and not just in the abstract. Sarah has brilliantly edited together hundreds of quotes from romance writers and readers into a hilarious and touching (I cried a few times, not gonna lie) celebration of reading romance and the community of romance readers. Reading this book brought home for me how proud I am to be part of this community, and how much romances have given me throughout my life.

Smart Bitches was one of the first sites I regularly spent time on, when I was discovering the romance community. I’d been reading romances for years and years at that point, and even written one, but apart from one or two friends and my mom, I’d never known anyone else who did. And I was so thrilled to find out there were loads of us out there and that I could talk to them! (And that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like “forced seductions”! Man, this was a long time ago.) So this book felt like coming full circle for me. Thank you Sarah and Candi for everything!

I’ve been posting some of my favorite quotes from the book over at my tumblr (and I still have plenty to go)…here’s one of the best:

Reba, a fan of the genre, says that one thing she enjoys ‘about romance novels is the [depiction of a] woman struggling for independence in a world that does not recognize her value. Historicals are especially good for this, but I think they only highlight things that women recognize exist to this day. To wit, even our literature is seen as “less than,” despite strong writing, compelling storytelling, and regular inclusion of universal truths (or as universal as truths can get, anyway).’

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your e-mail address–it won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

NB: this is a copy I got signed at the RWA National Conference. Ms. Wendell isn’t involved in the giveaway and the book isn’t personalized. So if you want to tell her how much you loved her book, this isn’t the place. That would be her website. (But this IS the place to tell ME how much you loved it!)