Booktopia Romance Buzz
February 2011 | Edition Twenty-Two
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KATE'S MONTH AHEAD
Gentle Readers,
Happy February - Happy Valentine's Day! Flowers, chocolate - celebration of all things love. How better to do that than with a great story? Coupled up? Maybe send this newsletter along to the significant other for ideas of a perfect gift. Single or somewhere in between? Spend the evening with something lovely to read. Everyone wins! However you spend it, I hope you have a lovely day.

This month, welcome Deirdre Martin to the Buzz. Her latest novel, Icebreaker, is out this month and it is fun. Check out her fabulous interview - with herself - below.

What I Just Finished - have you discovered Julie Kagawa yet? I just finished The Iron Queen, the third in her fantastic YA fae series. If you're looking for something new and intriguing, try this author on for size.

What I'm Reading Now - I'm working my way through Susan Elizabeth Phillips' backlist - a very fun project. I'm reading Just Imagine, her American historical.

What I Can't Wait For - Have you seen Jill Shalvis's cover this month? Who can resist that?

Until next month, happy reading!
Kate Cuthbert

Editor
Booktopia Romance Buzz
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Icebreaker As many of you are aware, I was born and raised in Canada. It's a lovely country, lush green summers, cold white winters. We're known for our courtesy, diplomacy, and general innocuousness. But one thing - and one thing only - truly unites Canadians together.

Ice hockey.

Don't believe me? Check out this video of Canada winning the 2010 Olympic Hockey gold. Canadians are crazy about hockey.

You might also be aware that I'm crazy about romance novels. So when I heard, waaaay back in 2005 that there was a romance series out, kinda new, about hockey players, you know I was all over it. Thus, was I introduced to Deirdre Martin , and lo, it was good. Dee, as she signed off to me in her email, therefore giving me tacit permission to call her that, thereby making my entire month, has a new book out this month.

Icebreaker merges her two previous series, both The Blades (hockey) and Wild Hart (Irish), but don't worry if you aren't familiar with one, the other, or both - there's enough backstory to catch you up. It features Sinead and Adam, both intensely private people (and, really, Adam is just intense) and workaholics who don't know how to connect. Mix in some painful backstory for both of them, and you've got an emotional love story - with ice hockey. What's not to love?

Deirdre has popped by this month to give an interview - with herself. Enjoy the humour - it's what makes her books so much fun!

Deirdre Martin Interviews...Deirdre Martin
Q: You're only five feet tall. Do people ever rest their drinks on your head at parties?
A: That has nothing to do with romance.

Q: Oh. Right.  Icebreaker marks a return to the world of the New York Blades. What lured you back to the rink?
A: I've always left the series open ended. My feeling has been that as long as people keep wanting to read Blades books, I'll keep writing them. The book could also be considered part of The Wild Hart Saga: the heroine of Icebreaker is Sinead O'Brien. Her brother Quinn is the hero of WITH A TWIST, her sister Maggie is the heroine of the novella THE LUCK OF THE IRISH, and her youngest brother Liam is the hero of  STRAIGHT UP. ICEBREAKER was especially fun to write, because I got to intertwine the two series and re-visit lots of beloved characters from both books. And let's face it:  the Blades are always fun to write about.

Q: It's February, the month of romance. What's the best Valentine's gift you ever got? What's the worst?
A:  The best Valentine gift I ever got was my husband quitting smoking. The worst Valentine gift I ever got was from a boyfriend who gave me a two pound  (about a kilo) box of chocolate accompanied by the DVD "Thin Thighs In Thirty Days." I wish I were making that up, but I'm not.

Q: Of all the books you've written, who's your favourite hero and who's your favourite heroine?
A: My favourite hero is Michael Dante from FAIR PLAY . No question. He's temperamental, emotional, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. His family is very important to him. The heroine, Theresa Falconetti, mirrors him in many ways: family is paramount, and she's very moody just like him, so sparks are flying constantly. It was a blast writing the dialogue between them; I also loved crafting scenes between Michael and his funny but very intense older brother, Anthony, who's a chef. Readers liked Anthony so much he got his own book, JUST A TASTE . In retrospect I wish I'd created more Dante brothers. Maybe I can rustle up some long lost cousins....

After FAIR PLAY was published, a lot of readers wrote saying, "I didn't know you were Italian!" I'm not. But I have friends who are, and I guess all that up close research paid off.

As for heroines, it's a tie between FAIR PLAY's Theresa and STRAIGHT UP' s Aislinn McCafferty. Both are very strong women who have been wounded in the past. They're very tough and no nonsense on the outside to hide their vulnerability. What's interesting to me is that these are the two heroines readers seemed to like least, at least initially.

Q: Are your heroes and heroines based on real people?
A: Only one: Ty Gallagher in BODY CHECK. He was an amalgam of the New York Rangers' Mark Messier and the New Jersey Devils' Scott Stevens.

Q: Can you please write faster?
A: I'm writing as fast as I can! Honest.

Q: What's the first romance novel you ever read?
A: Anya Seton's GREEN DARKNESS. I'm not even sure it's in print any more. Beautifully written, and definitely swoon worthy. (Ed: it is, and available here.)

Q: Do you read a lot of romance yourself?
A: No. I find it hard to read the genre I write in. There are exceptions, of course (Nora), but by and large, I steer clear. I don't want to be subconsciously influenced.

515555_f260 Q: Who do you find sexy?
A: This is a very hard question to answer, but I will try my best. Generally, I divide sexy men into two lists: those I lust for on first sight, like Johnny Depp and Clive Owen, and those who are considered "unconventionally sexy," like Jemaine Clement (Aren't Australians reading JemaineClementthis? You better watch it, girl) and Gabriel Byrne. For me, intelligence and sense of humor are the ultimate aphrodisiacs. Sadly, this means  Russell Brand is trying to creep onto the "unconventional list," but I'm not ready to amend it to, "Smart, sexy, and insane" just yet.

Q: Why are there no Australian men on the list.
A: Wrong. Both Russell Crowe and Eric Bana are on the "lust at first sight" list, they're just further down.

Q: Oh yeah. Forgot.
A: Get on with it before we all fall asleep.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: Let's just say it features a handsome strapping man with an affinity for fast skating.

Q: If you could set a romance in any time or any place, where would it be and why?
A: I'd set it in Great Britain during WWII. There's a built in element of danger, both physically and mentally. American soldiers were stationed there, causing friction between them and British soldiers. There was a lot of humoru trying to make the best of things, people banding together to fight a common enemy, women holding the home front together...I could go on and on. But I think it's very rich place and time to set a romance in.

Q: What else would you like your readers to know?
A: That without them, I wouldn't have been able to achieved two long time dreams: writing for a living, and having a legitimate excuse to spend all day in my pyjamas, drinking coffee.

If you want any more info on my books, or me, feel free to visit my website at: www.deirdremartin.com

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SCINTILLATING SUSPENSE
9780345511690Allison Brennan may be flirting with paranormal romance, lately but she's back this month to thrill suspense readers again with her FBI-themed novel Kiss Me, Kill Me.

Lucy was all set for a career with the FBI, but things happened, and now plans have been derailed and Lucy is at loose ends. Then her boyfriend, Sean, invites her to consult on his private investigation, and soon they are tracking a woman leading a shocking double life. When their investigation collides with the FBI's hunt for a serial killer, Lucy is faced with some hard decisions - including what she really wants out of life, and whether Sean is part of that picture.

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CAPTIVATING CONTEMPORARIES
The heavy-hitters have come out to play this month in our contemporary category!
HARVEST MOON

A CREED IN STONE CREEK

THE YOU I NEVER KNEW
9780778329428Can't get enough Robyn Carr ? She's back this month with book three in her Virgin River series (and incidentally, the title of my favourite Neil Young Song!)

Kellie needs a break, so she heads out to Virgin River to stay with her sister where she meets Lief. It looks like romance is in the air, but family tensions threaten to nip it in the bud before it has the chance to bloom.

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Harvest Moon


9780373775552Want your romance a little bit western? That makes Linda Lael Miller your new go-to author! She writes both historical and contemporary western-themed romance.

Becoming a guardian of a 5-year-old means Steven needs to make some life changes, so he moves to Stone Creek. He never expects to meet a fellow lawyer out here, let alone a beautiful, by-the-book county prosecutor.

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A Creed in Stone Creek


9780446584906 Susan Wiggs published her first novel  in 1987. This is one of her early novels, re-released for new fans to enjoy.

Melissa thought her life was over at 17 when, pregnant, she watched her father use his power to fire her lover and destroy his family. She fled to Seattle, pregnant and alone, but she survived. Now, her past is about to catch up with her.

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The You I Never Knew

PULSE-POUNDING PARANORMALS
I've got just three words for you about this month's paranormal selection - new Mercy Thompson...
RIVER MARKED
9780441019731 Look, if you're a paranormal reader, and you're not already addicted to Patricia Briggs's addictive, fantastic, nuanced, sexy, romantic, just-plain-awesome Mercy Thompson novels, then I just don't know what to do about you. If you're brand new to the paranormal genre (welcome back from underneath your rock!), I've got two words for you - read them.

But start at the beginning.

9781841497976 We readers in Australia are lucky, because we've got our choice of covers and formats. The US cover is hardcover, the Australian trade paper. So you can decide which you'd prefer. Just click on the appropriate cover.

Mercy has never met anyone else with her unique talent...until now. Something is happening, something terrible and deadly, something out of her league. It's also out of the league of the local werewolf pack. In fact, the only people who might know anything are shifters, her father's people, the community she has eschewed. Until now.

Click here to PRE-ORDER River Marked (trade paper edition)

Click here to PRE-ORDER River Marked (hardcover edition)
ON THE HUNT

DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR

BLOOD WYNE
9780451232434 Looking for a taste of  the paranormal? Or maybe a chance to check out a new author or four? Anthologies are a great read when you know you only have limited time, or when you want to try a new author. This anthology is headlined by Gena Showalter, and features Shannon K Butcher, Jessica Anderson, and Deidre Knight.

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On the Hunt


9781439136805Kresley Cole looks at reincarnation in her latest novel, Dreams of a Dark Warrior. Aiden is reborn again and again, seeking his one true love. But every time he remembers his past, he's doomed to die. Will she risk everything to remind him?

You can also check out this link for an insight into Kresley's writing process.

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Dreams of a Dark
Warrior


9780425239742 Yasemine Galenorn' s D'Artigo sisters were among the first. of the fae revolution. Half-human, half-fae, they used to work for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Used to. Now they're free agents and ready to start taking on cases of their own. And, because they're the D'Artigo sisters, you know things aren't going to go as planned...

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Blood Wyne.

ELECTRIFYING EROTIC ROMANCE
There are other erotic romances out this month (check out the Lora Leigh-led anthology, Primal, for one), but it's my newsletter, and I'll focus on really hot covers if I want to!

9780425238813Look, do you even really need a plot summary for this, the latest in Jaci Burton's sport-themed romances? Are you even reading this? Hello? Hello? Bueller?

If you can tear your eyes away from those abs for the next ten seconds, here's what the story's about: he's an American Football (Gridiron) pro, and a certified heart-breaker. She has no intention of opening herself up to hurt. They have a steamy one-night stand that neither can forget. We are lucky readers, in for a seductive, sensational story!



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The Perfect Play


9780425239810I'm a dog person, so naturally I'm going to be all over romances with dogs in them (Hi Jennifer Crusie!). But not even die-hard cat people are going to be able to resist Jill Shalvis's latest cover for Animal Magnetism. Look at that puppy! He's all cuddled into that broad, nicely-muscled shoulder, leaning into that strong neck, looking down over that long, bare back...

I'm sorry, I forgot where I was going with this...

Oh, right! Animal Magnetism . I'll say. Here's a plot summary: She owns the only kennel in town. He's a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants pilot for hire. He can't be leashed, but she's about to show him this ain't no puppy love.

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HEART-WARMING HISTORICALS
February seems to be the month of anthologies - there's one in historicals too, along with some other titles from some fabulous authors.
TO DESIRE A WICKED DUKE

THE HEIRESS

WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE
9780345510099Nicole Jordan finishes up her Courtship Wars with To Desire a Wicked Duke.

He's her sworn enemy, the very opposite of the beloved fiance she lost at war. Forced to marry to avoid a scandal, they discover their spirited rivalry leads to spirited passion. But passion isn't love, and when she flees to Scotland, it seems a happy-ever-after flees with her.

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To Desire a Wicked
Duke



9780061963094Lynsay Sands continues her romp of a series about an intrepid trio of sisters with The Heiress.

Suzette has a dowry, but she's not interested in catching a title. She wants a poor husband, one that is so grateful for her money that she won't have to also surrender control. Daniel claims to be penniless, and therefore perfect for her plans. But he isn't being entirely honest.

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The Heiress


9780061885686It might look like the heroine's hair possesses superpowers, but this latest novel from Julie Ann Long is still historical!

She is but an innocent bystander in his plot for revenge, and he's not known for caring about those he hurts along the way. But Genevieve is different somehow, and Alexander finds himself in uncharted territory.

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What I Did for a Duke


AN INVITATION TO SIN
9781420112382 As I noted up in the paranormals section, anthologies can be a fantastic way to try-before-you-buy with new authors, as well as the perfect choice for reading when you know there's going to be lots of distractions (I like anthologies for travel books - it can be hard to concentrate, you're always getting interrupted by other passengers on the plane, etc). This historical collection is anchored by long-time favourite Jo Beverley, but introduces some less-well known authors that might be your next auto-buy!

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Archives
In This Issue

Kate's Month Ahead

Book of the Month

Suspense

Contemporaries

Paranormals

Erotic Romance

Historicals
March is a HUGE month for romance - you're going to want to reserve your copy now!
I'm talking new JR Ward, new Suzanne Brockmann, new Julie James...

Pre-order now!
BREAKING THE RULES
Suzanne Brockmann
LOVER UNLEASHED
JR Ward
A LOT LIKE LOVE
Julie James
AN UNLIKELY COUNTESS
Jo Beverley
HIDDEN AWAY
Maya Banks
IT HAPPENED ONE BITE
Lydia Dare
LIVE WIRE
Lora Leigh
LIVING ON THE EDGE
Shannon K Butcher


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