Book Giveaways (including paranormal romance)!

I’ve been really lucky to take part in some great giveaways and book promotions lately. Here are a few that are happening now! Feel free to browse through (click the images or the descriptions beneath) and find some new favorite books. 🙂

KU Giveaway (ends tomorrow!)

kindle unlimited romance book giveaway

☆҉➹☆Check out the November KU Giveaway! ☆҉➹☆

Check out these KU books! Read for FREE. Plus enter to win!

Attitude of Gratitude (until 12/17)

romance book giveaway

I am definitely thankful for all of these free books!

 

Advent Calendar Christmas Romance Cross Promo (until 12/24)

romance book giveaway

Sign up now for treats leading up to Christmas!

Urban Fantasy and PNR Giveaway (until 12/26)

free fantasy paranormal books

Urban Fantasy & PNR Giveaway—check out all these free books!

 

7 Shifter Heroes I Have Known and Loved

*This post first appeared on McKenna Dean’s blog on 9/19/17.

shifter romance covers

We all have book boyfriends, the fictional men who make our hearts beat faster and could probably convince us to step out of our warm reading chairs and join them in a more dangerous, paranormal setting. (Probably. I mean, only if I could still wear my ratty old yoga pants.) Here are seven shapeshifting hotties, in no particular order–

  1. Clayton Danvers from Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Clay was my first shifter heartthrob, and he will always hold a special place in my heart. Despite the violent acts he does to ensure the safety of his pack and his questionable behavior toward Elena in the early stages of their relationship (which I won’t spoil just in case there are one or two PNR fans who haven’t yet read this book), I fell hard for his southern accent and his absolute devotion to his mate. In my head, he’s even hotter than the guy who plays him in the television series. Is he flawed? Very much so. But since he’s my first, I go easier on him.

  1. Matt Barns from Gray Back Bad Bear by T.S. Joyce

It’s impossible for me to talk about how much I love Matt without saying how much I love his mate, Willa. These two were absolutely perfect together, at turns vulnerable and hilarious. Willa, especially, brought some geeky levity to their relationship, and while I adore Matt on his own, I love him even more with Willa.

  1. Arik from When an Alpha Purrs by Eve Langlais

So this guy is completely vain, especially about his hair (that is, his “mane”), but…I sort of loved him for it. Sure, I also wanted to throttle him, but I liked that even though he thought so highly of himself and his mane, he was still vulnerable with his friends. His vanity was great for laughs.

  1. Alcide Herveaux from Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Alcide…sigh. I really couldn’t care less about Bill or Eric. I wanted Sookie to end up with Alcide. Of course, a whole lot of random complications kept them apart throughout the series, but for a while there, I was Team Alcide.

  1. Lucas Hunter from Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Okay, I’ll be honest. I read Slave to Sensation a long time ago and I can’t remember any details about Lucas except that he was totally hot and there was tons of sexual tension. Hmm, might be due for a re-read….

  1. Derren Hudson from Spiral of Need by Suzanne Wright

If you love a good alphahole, you will love Derren. He starts off the story with all kinds of prejudice against Seers, and of course the heroine just happens to be a Seer. He’s controlling and derisive and super controlling. Something about Ally has him rethinking his prejudices, and you know what happens to a controlling man whose worldview is challenged? He’s cranky. So yes, Derren’s an alphahole. If you don’t like violent sex, this book might not be for you. (Not violent as in non-consensual or rapey, if I’m remembering correctly. Just…violent. Explosive. Demanding.)

  1. Adam Hauptman from Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Hello, Hot Neighbor! This dude is just solid. Solidly built, and solid at heart. I don’t want to say too much and spoil later events in the series, so I’ll just say that I absolutely adore his love-hate relationship with Mercedes in Moon Called, and the way she teases him by leaving an eyesore junker car in sight of his house. Sa-woon. I love those two.

So those are my guys! Who’s your favorite shifter hero?

*

In case you haven’t joined my newsletter yet, you can sign up here and get some free shifter romance goodies!

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Why Paranormal Romance Rocks

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to McKenna Dean, author of The Panther’s Lost Princess. I’m really excited about her book, which sounds awesome!


Liza Street invited me on her website to share with you what I love about paranormal romances. Thanks for having me here, Liza!

I love ‘what if’ questions. What if a vampire wanted to live a normal life? What if a gargoyle wanted to be human? What if gaining special powers didn’t make your life fantastic but utterly ruined it instead? Does reincarnation exist, and if so, are we doomed to repeat our past mistakes?

To me, this is the meat and drink of storytelling. Despite being a pragmatic, no-nonsense person in my day job, I have a closet weakness for romance. I want to see lovers overcome odds to end up together. I want my protagonists to battle circumstances and self-doubt to wind up in a happily-ever-after ending. I might wear sensible shoes to work, but in my daydreams, I’m sporting Cinderella’s glass slippers. I might decry overt sentimentalism in my daily life, but I long to have a romantic proposal under circumstances that hold meaning for me. I wear Victoria’s Secret lingerie under work coveralls. My fingernails must stay short and painted with only clear nail polish, but I splurge on fantastic colors with my toenails. There is a hidden element of ‘naughty’ that runs through every aspect of my daily life.

Or maybe not naughty so much as secret. Yeah, the average person on the street has no idea what’s going on inside my head on a given day, and I like that. I think that’s something else that draws me to shifter stories—stories where characters must make peace with what they truly are and stories where being yourself isn’t necessarily an easy path. I think many of us understand what it’s like to be ‘Other’ and not part of the in crowd.

I realize contemporary romance outsells every other subgenre. I’m proud of the contemporary stories I’ve written. But by far and large, I need that little ‘twist’ that makes a story different, that takes it out of the ordinary. That’s what truly makes writing fun. Paranormal romance does that for me. I have the focus on the couple, which I love, but I also get the ‘what if’ questions and the world-building that results out of it.

pantherwithlogo_final_200x300Ellie, my heroine in The Panther’s Lost Princess, is at first glance a very average person. Raised in foster care and on her own as a young adult, she has dreams of leaving her life as a waitress behind and making it big as a singer. Only deep down, she harbors a fear that she might be some kind of monster—that there was a reason her parents abandoned her as a baby. What if she’s not wrong? What if some terrible creature really does live inside of her? Will she be able to control it? Come to terms with it?

I love that. I love working with that kind of uncertainty, and throwing Ellie head first into a world she wasn’t aware of when she meets our hero, Jack Ferris. I thrill to the politics behind shifter clans, and whether or not people would be open about their shifter status. I like knowing that the rules I’ve created for shifters work in my universe, and that they have a sort of weird logic to them.

Having fun is important to me as a writer. Sure, I might be more popular if I churned out more formulaic stories that fell into the category with the highest demand by readers, but bottom line, the straightforward contemporary doesn’t grab me to the same degree as the ‘story with a twist’. A certain amount of conflict is necessary for good storytelling. Paranormal romances seem to give me greater scope for introducing that conflict without having it be a simple misunderstanding or a seemingly endless back-and-forth dance between the protagonists, when in reality, there is often very little reason they can’t be together. I prefer romantic suspense stories to the average ‘boy meets girl’ because I crave the kind of excitement I don’t get in my real life. As a reader, I’m always going to choose wands, magic rings, and spaceships over just about any other stories, so it only makes sense I want to play with dragons, wolves, and tigers in my own tales.


MD_logo_white 300x300McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. Finally she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.

She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, dogs, cats, and various livestock.

She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.

You can find McKenna’s book, The Panther’s Lost Princess, here on Amazon!

Links:

Website: http://mckennadeanromance.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B075CRHQ7B/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/McKenna-Dean-Author-262328784224302/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McKennaDeanFic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mckennadeanromance/?hl=en

Tumblr: https://mckennadeanromance.tumblr.com/

Email: mckennadeanromance@gmail.com

The Riders (duology) by Veronica Rossi

 

Riders was the kind of book that I really could not stop reading. Once I started, I didn’t want to stop, and heaven help any poor soul who tried to interrupt my reading. Chores didn’t matter, I think I ate whatever food was easily made while the book was open on the counter, and I literally could not sleep until I’d finished the novel. I both hate and love books like this. I love them because I fall completely under their spell. I hate them because I get absolutely nothing done.

Riders is about a boy, Gideon, who literally dies but comes back to life as War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. He soon meets the other three horsemen, as well as a girl, Daryn, who has a mysterious ability to find them and bring them together.

I don’t want to spoil any of the mysteries in here, but let’s just say the writing is flawless, the plot fast-paced, and the characterization takes my breath away. This was a beautifully written book.

Seeker was also un-put-downable. I started it early in the afternoon and ignored everything around me just so I could keep reading! I love Gideon so, so much, and Daryn, too. I really needed this glimpse into her head. The ending was surprising and fulfilling, and man, Rossi’s dialogue. She’s a master.

I highly recommend these books to any lovers of contemporary fantasy.