Booktopia Romance Buzz
May 2011 | Edition Twenty-Five

Gentle Readers,
What a month May is for fantastic new releases. Not only do we have new Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Lori Foster, Katie MacAlister, and more, we have up-and-comers that you need to know about now, and a fantastic selection of Aussies for you to check out.

We also have Julia Quinn.

Yep, you read right, Julia Quinn dropped by to talk about her latest novel and answer some burning questions about her journey as an author, what she thinks about the latest trends, and her most romantic moments.

I can't tell you the thrill I got when her email landed in my inbox, and I'm so pleased to pass the thrill on to you!

Delve in, gentle readers, and enjoy your month!

What I Just Finished: I got my hands on an early copy of Kiss of Snow, and readers.... Readers. I can't even....Just go. Read it. Trust me.

What I'm Reading Now: I loved her Body Movers series, so I was excited to start Stephanie Bond's new series with Baby, Drive South. It has an awesome premise, and so far is very very good!

What I Can't Wait For: Look at all those fantasy titles this month! I can't wait!

Until next month, happy reading!

Kate Cuthbert
Booktopia Romance Buzz
JQ_publicityphotoLong time readers of this newsletter will know of my deep, abiding love for all things Julia Quinn . She is my go-to author when I need to smile, the author I pass around as an antidote to bad days to romance readers and non-readers alike. She was my first auto-buy, and the reason I started down this crazy romance-reading journey. So you can imagine the thrill I experienced when she agreed to not only come and hang out with us here at the Buzz, but launch our new romance-only interview: the Nine Naughty Questions. I hope you're as thrilled to welcome her as I am!Without further ado, here are her answers!

1. I wonder, is a romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.
I was actually planning to go to medical school and become a paediatrician.  In fact, I wrote my first novel while I was completing my pre-med requirements and applying to med school.  I got my first book deal the very same month I was accepted to Yale School of Medicine.  I ended up deferring for a couple of years while I wrote, and then I had what I call my "mid-20s crisis."  All of my friends were heading off to graduate school, and I thought I should do the same.  So I went to med school, but after two months I realised it wasn't the right thing for me and withdrew.  I'm very glad I gave it a try, though.  I think we regret the things we don't do, not the things we do.

2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why romance readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

I think our fans are devoted simply because our books leave them feeling good.  And happy.  And hopeful.  Those are feelings we all want to feel again and again.  There is something incredibly comforting about picking up a book and knowing that even if you don't know precisely what is going to happen, you are guaranteed a happy ending.

3. Please tell us about your latest novel...

Just Like Heaven is the first book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet .  Most of my readers are familiar with the Smythe-Smith girls, who have made appearances in several of my books.  But we don't really know much about them other than that they are quite possibly the worst musicians in the history of man.  I've had so many characters attend the annual Smythe-Smith Musicale and moan about the experience-I just had to start writing books about the Smythe-Smiths.  I mean, what kind of woman plays music that badly and doesn't realise it?  (Or maybe she does...)

4. Is the life of a published romance writer... well... romantic?

I've been married to the same guy for fifteen years... the guy I met on the second day of freshman week at university.  That's romantic to me!

5. Of all of the romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?

Oh, gosh, I can't think of one.  To me, true romance is a lifelong commitment, not a single moment.

6. Sex in romance writing today ranges from 'I can't believe they're allowed to publish this stuff' explicit to 'turn the light back on I can't see a thing' mild. How important do you think sex is in a romance novel?

I think it depends entirely on the story.  I have novels that are "hotter" than others, and this has always happened because the stories and the characters called for it.  It was never a conscious decision on my part to sex it up.

My attitude is generally that if the scene doesn't do something to further the plot or develop the characters, it probably doesn't belong in the book.  I never want sex scenes in my books to feel "pasted in," as if you could skip them and the book would read pretty much the same.

7. Romance writers are often romance readers - please tell us your five favourite (read and re-read) romance novels or five novels that influenced your work most?

This is a hard one, but I'll go with Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas; Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught; Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips; As You Desire by Connie Brockway; and When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James.

I realise that most of these are older books, and I certainly don't want to give the impression that there aren't amazing books being published today-but these are the ones that have had the most influence on me.

8. Paranormal Romance writing is 'so hot right now', do you have any thoughts on why?

It's an escape from reality.  There's something fun about entering a whole new world.  That said, I'll be sticking with my historical romances.  I always joke that readers will know that I've been pressured to enter the paranormal market if they see all of my characters at a ball, and then one of them says, "Look!  There goes the werewolf!"

9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

Join Romance Writers of America !  Even if you live in Australia, it's a wonderful, wonderful organisation.  I've heard wonderful things about Romance Writers of Australia, too.  In fact, most of the Aussie writers I know are members of both groups.  Writing organisations like these are just amazing.  The level of support they provide to aspiring writers is truly phenomenal.

9780061491900 I am a lucky, lucky girl, because I got my hands on a copy of this book early - yeah, I already know what happens. You can all go ahead and be jealous of me, because, readers? It was just a delight to read. If you've been missing the Bridgertons, this is the JQ for you - it has a very similar feel, with completely new characters for a fresh story. Enjoy!

Life isn't easy when you're a Smythe-Smith daughter. First, you have no musical talent. But that doesn't matter, because you're going to have an instrument thrust upon you. And you're going to be forced to play that instrument. In public. At an infamous musicale that, inexplicably, everyone in society attends. Including your older brother's best friend. You know, the one you are absolutely not in love with. And then there's the matter of the sprained ankle...

Booktopia Price: $8.80 - SAVE 45%
Click here for more info or to buy Just Like Heaven
Readers, you don't need me to tell you these authors are fingertip-sizzling hot. Whether you're in the mood for historical, fantasy, or contemporary - we've got you covered this month.


9780425240939This anthology is an erotic romance who's who - featuring the hottest writers in ER at the moment, and an up-and-comer that you're going to want to get to know. If you are looking to dip your toe into the ER pool, this is a great place to start, with four new stories from Emma Holly, Lauren Dane, Megan Hart, and Bethany Kane, that reminds us that the best things in life come in threes.

Our Price: $16.50
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Three to Tango

9780425240922Australia produces some amazing erotic romance writers - maybe it's all that sunshine? You  may not have heard of Karin Tabke yet, but you're going to want to put her on your radar. This is the first book in her new erotic paranormal series, Blood Moon Rising, about an Alpha Lycan who must choose a life mate, and the woman completely unsuitable for the job, and it's available at an awesome price! Support your Aussie writers!

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Blood Law

9780373605569You know, the title pretty much says it all for this new title from Saskia Walker. No coy euphemisms or sly double-entendres. She just puts it out there like it is. Our heroine is a harlot, at least at the beginning of the book, but it doesn't take our hero long to find out that she is much much more than just that. Set in the Scottish lowlands during the peak of shipboard trading (and witch hunting), this is your historical erotic choice!

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The Harlot
Oh, you have no idea how excited I get when I have some new romantic fantasy to spotlight, and this month, there are FOUR new titles! FOUR! I can barely contain myself!
9780425240915I mentioned above that Australia produces some fine erotic romance writers, and Denise Rossetti is a prime example. But she's also a fine fantasy romance writer, so it's a pleasure to include her in either category. This is the latest novel in her very hot, very fantastic Four-Sided Pentacle universe.

Walker has dedicated his life to the destruction of the demons that slew his whole tribe, leaving only him alive to wreak vengeance as a lethal mercenary. His new challenge, however, is somewhat unorthodox. She is Mehcredi, an assassin, forced into penance. She is like nothing Walker has ever experienced before, completely without reservation, and with no concept of the barriers he throws in her way. Their erotic journey of discovery, however, is marred by the demon that hunts them, the most powerful and reviled warrior of all, known only as Necromancer.

Booktopia Price: $16.95 - SAVE 15%
Click here for more information or to buy The Lone Warrior



9780373210336Been hearing the word steampunk around lately? Been thinking about giving it a try? Look for Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke, but also this YA from Kady Cross, about a band of misfit teens at the turn of the 20th century trying to save the world. Finley's always known she is different. Now she's finally found a place she belongs, and no one is going to tear it apart.

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The Girl in the Steel

9780515149517Readers, I love a time travel story, and there is no one writing who does it better than Lynn Kurland (have you read One Enchanted Evening? HAVE YOU??...ahem) so I am beyond thrilled to announce she has a new novel this month. Being a medieval studies scholar, Tess jumps at the chance to live in a medieval castle. But she's about to get more of a history lesson than she expected.

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One Magic Moment

9780425241523It's been a long, long, long time since we've had the opportunity to delve into the world of Elizabeth Vaughan 's Xy. I absolutely adore this series, so vivid and well-constructed. Lara and her barbarian warlord feature in this book, but they aren't the focus. Instead a member of their retinue and a fierce warrior woman must set aside their differences to protect their Queen - and their lives.

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Click here to buy Warcry
 I'm focusing on up-and-comers in this month's historicals: authors on the brink of stardom that you just can't wait to read!
9780061852077SARAH MACLEAN
If you haven't read 9 Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, shame on you! With a title like that, it's pretty much an autobuy! Luckily it's also very, very funny, and the first in her three books series that's earning her favourable comparisons to Julia Quinn.

11 Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart is the last of her 'Love by Numbers' series, and tells the story of a passionate Italian debutante who just can't seem to keep herself out of trouble, and the respectable, staid Duke who can't seem to stay away.

Booktopia Price: $8.80 - SAVE 45%
Click here for more info or to buy 11 Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart

9780425241516KATE NOBLE
She's released less than a handful of novels, but Kate Noble is making a name for herself as a breath of fresh air in an over-crowded subgenre. With interesting plot premises and characters that lift off the page, she's an author to watch!

Follow My Lead is her latest novel mixes romance with travelogue as the most sought-after bachelor in London escapes to the continent - somewhat unwillingly - to escort the bluestocking daughter of a professor determined to carve out a place for herself in a man's world.

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Click here for more info or to buy Follow My Lead

9780451233974EMMA WILDES
Passionate, well-balanced, highly sensual, a must-read: Emma Wildes has the  who's who of historical romance talking - and excited. Deemed a stunning new talent, she's carving a place for herself by writing stunningly sensual historical romance.

She's resigned herself to an appropriate society marriage, but a chance encounter leaves her insatiably curious about the exotic and scandalous Earl of Augustine. He has Native American roots, and wants only to return to his home. Until he meets her, and starts considering different life choices.

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Click here for more info or to buy One Whisper Away

9780345517395STEFANIE SLOANE
Thought there was room for only one Stephanie in historical romance? Think again, as Stefanie Sloane introduces herself this month with her opulent, lush, delightful debut.

As a member of an elite spy organisation tasked with keeping the English safe from the deceitful French, Will Randall has had to do many distasteful things. But this time things have gone too far. There is no way he's giving up his rakish ways to play the dutiful suitor, no matter how beautiful or intelligent the chit turns out to be.

Booktopia Price: $8.80 - SAVE 45%
Click here for more info or to buy The Devil in Disguise

9780312532567A mash-up of genres, a mash-up of authors: this book is a theory just dying to be tested. Featuring New York Times Bestsellers - and beloved authors - Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan, each writing in the subgenre that they do best, combining together to provide a story that crosses time and continents to the perfect happy ending.

The Blackbird was a woman ahead of her time - unreserved, independent, and living life the way she wanted. And she recorded everything in her diary, including the story of the man she loved most, never knowing that the diary would eventually be picked up by Piper, a museum curator with no luck in love. Can a woman centuries dead help another find her own true love?

Booktopia Price: $8.80 - SAVE 45%
Click here for more info or to buy A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man
Eek! Paranormal readers! What a month you have in store for you!


9780451233448Katie MacAlister brings her light touch to the world of dragons once more.

Ysolde has a lot on her plate: she has to clear her lover's name, free his friend, rescue a damsel in over her head, raise a shade, and mediate a very uncomfortable meeting. Being a dragon isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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The Unbearable
Lightness of Dragons

9780061894596It's all about light-hearted paranormals at Booktopia this month! Lynsay Sands released her 15th(!) novel in her Argeneau Vampire series.

Rogue Hunter Drina is many things - but a babysitter generally isn't one of them. But this assignment comes with some perks - namely co-baby-sitter Harper.

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The Reluctant Vampire

9780441020423Not so much funny, as just downright awesome, Ilona Andrews gifts us with the fifth novel in her Kate Daniels series this month.

Billed as a Happily Ever After in Progress, Magic Slays sees Kate and Curran learning to face the challenge of day-to-day living - both with the pack and each other!

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Magic Slays
What else could you possible need?

9780441020317DEAD RECKONING
If you're not already reading the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, well, then I wipe my hands of you. Honestly. You call yourself a paranormal reader. Pffft! For those of you desperate for a new instalment (Hi. My name is Kate and I'm a Charlaine Harris addict), this is the book you've been waiting for!

Sookie finds herself caught up in the politics of both the vampire and shifter world - not to mention temporarily short of a job in this latest instalment. Merlottes has been fire-bombed, and even though it's got all the hallmarks of an anti-shifter attack, Sookie and Sam think there's more to it. At the same time, Sookie's lover Eric is planning an attack of his own, and it's about to get a lot more complicated.

Two covers and two prices means it's buyer's choice this month!
Click here to buy the Australian trade paperback at $23.95 - SAVE 20%
Click here to buy the US hardcover at $31.50 - SAVE 43%

9780425242094KISS OF SNOW
Readers, I got a sneak peek at this book last month, and it is BIG. If you haven't yet tried Nalini Snow's Psy/Changeling series, don't start with this book. You'd only be cheating yourself. Go back to the beginning and gorge!

Hawke is used to being a lone wolf: though he's alpha of the SnowDancer pack, he knows he will never experience the joy of the mating bond. So he throws himself into making the pack strong - and protecting it from the swiftly growing threat of a Psy splinter group determined to wipe them out. Sienna has known from the time she was a child that her destiny is one of pain - both for herself and everyone around her. But she can't resist the chance to experience joy as well, and she will fight Hawke tooth and nail to get him to notice her as more than just a packmate.

Singh has recently been re-released in trade paper with new covers - so you can have your choice: trade paper or hard cover!

Click here to buy the Australian trade paperback at 25.50 - SAVE 15%
Click here to buy the US hard cover at $28.75 - SAVE 45%

I'm definitely going through a romantic suspense binge at the moment, especially after meeting the amazing Cindy Gerard and Helene Young at ARRC2011. So I love the fact I get to spotlight some great new novels out this month!

9780446566575The latest romantic suspense from Roxanne St Claire mixes glamour and suspense.

Vivi's fledgling private investigation business is about to hit the big time - all she has to do is pretend to be a Hollywood starlet to bait a serial killer. Of course, that's if Mr Bossy-Pants FBI Agent stays out of the way and doesn't ruin everything.

Booktopia Price: $8.80 - SAVE 45%
Click here to buy Face of Danger

9780373775750If you like your romantic suspense with a side of spice, Lori Foster is the author for you!

Murray Coburn is not a nice man - which is how both Trace - an undercover mercenary - and Priscilla - his long-lost daughter - both end up attempting to enact their revenge simultaneously. Sometimes - in love and revenge - it just takes two to get it right.

Booktopia Price: $8.80 - SAVE 45%
Click here to buy Trace of Fever
You know, if you pre-order, it's a surprise every time you go to your post box. Books appear like magic! Who doesn't need a little magic?

Janet Evanovich
Laurell K Hamilton
Lara Adrian
Loretta Chase
Christina Brooke
Lori Foster
Meredith Duran


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