Booktopia Romance Buzz
February 2012 | Edition Thirty-Four
Gentle Readers,
February is a time for lovers - book lovers! There are so many great titles out this month and three fabulous events to help you celebrate!

First, the National Year of Reading launches across the country on February 14th. Check out their events calendar for celebrations going on in your community, and get involved online via their twitter conversations and book club website!

Second, as part of the NYR2012 celebrations, the Australian Romance Readers Association is holding a romance reading flash mob . If you're in Sydney, make sure to come along. We're meeting at 11am on Pyrmont Bridge on Sunday February 12 in Sydney to read romance in public for an hour. Bring along your romance reading material to help show the world we're out and proud - and reading!

Third, if you haven't got your ticket yet, I suggest you move quickly, because this is an event you don't want to miss. Booktopia is proud to be the exclusive event sponsor for the 2012 awards.


What I Just Finished: Bronwyn Parry has a new bush-set romantic suspense out in March,  and readers, it is chilling!

What I'm Reading Now: Some readers may know Alison Ahearn as Harlequin Medical author Amy Andrews. She and her sister have co-written Sister Pact a novel about sisters participating in a reality TV show - and it's fantastic.

What I Can't Wait For: New Gail Carriger!!

Until next time, happy reading!

Kate Cuthbert
Booktopia Romance Buzz
lookup_cropped200I'm so thrilled to welcome Shannon Stacey to the Romance Buzz this month - and even more thrilled that I'm able to introduce print readers to her amazing contemporary romance novels. And you lucky, lucky things - she's got three novels available in three months. I had to wait ages between novels, so I'm incredibly jealous that you get to glut yourself on the Kowalskis in three quick hits. Go ahead - indulge!

1.    I wonder, is a romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.

My desire to be a writer kicked in about the time I learned how to scrawl real words on paper in crayon and it was sneaking romances out of my mother's room that set me on the path to romance writing. I finished my first romance when I was about fifteen, but thankfully nobody will ever see that one.

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 romance readers love the genre because it consistently gives them the books they want to read. Trends come and go, so maybe vampires lose ground to cowboys or the billionaire CEO tops the charts but, as a reader, I know I'm going to get a story about love and commitment and, whether it makes me laugh or cry, it's going to end happily. And writ 9780373776788ing about and from the heart is very personal, but it's not necessary revealing. I don't really feel exposed because the character on the page isn't me and the story being told isn't mine.

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

I have actually have three books in three months! In 9780373776856January, February and March, my Kowalski series releases in print for the first time.

Three Kowalski men find their happily-ever-afters in this contemporary romance series full of family, fun and falling in love. Joe reconnects with his high school sweetheart during a family camping trip they'll never forget in Exclusively Yours. 9780373776863In Undeniably Yours , Kevin's life is turned upside-down when the woman he can't forget tells him he's going to be a daddy. And their cousin Sean gets more than he bargains for when he agrees to be Emma Shaw's fake fiancé for a month in Yours To Keep.

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

Romantic in the Barbara Cartland chaise lounge and feather boa kind of way? No. Well, not for me, anyway. But there's a romantic element to being married to a great guy for almost nineteen years, having two amazing sons and actually getting to be what I wanted to be when I grew up.

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?

I'm married to a man who's not very good at romantic gestures so, rather than one moment, I have two decades of the "little things" that aren't really so little. The romance elements I strive for in my writing are the building blocks of my own marriage and the relationships surrounding us: family, loyalty, a good sense of humour, loving children without reserve. My heroes, though, are generally a little better at the romantic gestures.

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 see a thing' mild. How important do you think sex is in a romance novel?

I personally like a little sex in my romance because I feel sexual compatibility's a big part of buying into the happily ever after. And, whether the scene is gritty or emotional or fun, having sex changes the dynamic of a couple and I want to see it on the page. That said, I'd hesitate to use the word "important" because many wonderful books are written without the presence of sex scenes.

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?

A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux was an early favourite I've re-read many times, though I'm not much of a re-reader. (I've never read the updated version with the "new" ending.) Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. The Taming by Jude Devereaux (her books were my constant companions in my younger days). Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. Pretty much any book written by Linda Lael Miller.

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

I'm not a big paranormal reader, though I do have a few series I like, but I think if people read romances to "escape", paranormal romances are the ultimate getting away. The rich world building, ultimate bad boys, higher stakes and large casts of characters invite readers to themselves in the books.

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

Know what your goal is and work for it. And it'll be hard work, but don't be tempted by the shortcuts and instant gratification today's technology offers. Keep your eye on what you want, keeping honing your craft and learning the industry and you can make it happen.

It's a reader's market this month with more great historical romances than you can shake a duke at!
9780451236104 Give yourself and a budding author a Valentine's Day treat this year by supporting new romance - check out one of these debut novels!

Heather Snow - Sweet Enemy
Stand-out detail to pique your interest: The heroine is a chemist at a time when women weren't allowed to think about anything else but their bonnets. And she uses her skill to help trap a killer. Who just happens to be the father of our potential hero.

Booktopia Price: $8.80
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9781402258312Samantha Grace - Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel
Reason 1 to give it a try: C'mon - that's a great title.
Reason 2 to give it a try: C'mon - that's a great cover.
Reason 3 to give it a try: Our heroine is the love 'em & leave 'em type - with the hero left wondering what happened!

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9780062088925Maya Rodale made my top 10 of 2010 list for her non-fiction efforts - why not give her fiction a try?

He - is tattoed - but also broke. So marrying one of his housemaids is out of the question - particularly if she's been telling his secrets to the scandal sheets.

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The Tattoed Duke

  9780451236043Super author Jo Beverley continues her Malloren series (this is book 12!) this month - and revisits a familiar character.

Not even a year of mourning has settled the scandal surrounding Lady May, and now a barely-presentable naval officer is threatening her return to society - and her heart.

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A Scandalous Countess

9781402265556The under-appreciated Shana Galen channels the bodice rippers of yore in both title and cover in her new novel - the finale of her Sons of the Revolution series about three brothers rebuilding their lives after the French Revolution.

He is a notorious privateer who's about to cross swords (and more!) with an admiral's daughter.

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The Rogue Pirate's

9780062068521If you haven't yet read Sarah MacLean , you are missing out on one of the freshest, funniest voices in romance fiction. I adored her Love by Numbers trilogy, and can't wait to get my teeth into A Rogue by Any Other Name - the first in her new The First Rule of Scoundrels series.

He was cast from society with the only thing they couldn't take - his title. Now he's the uncrowned king of the underworld, and he will use all his tricks, power, and anger to regain his rightful inheritance. Even marrying the most proper lady in London. Except it turns out the lady isn't quite as proper as she seems - and she's desperate to delve into all things improper.

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9780425246603I think every romance reader must have an author like Carolyn Jewel - someone they just adore, and can't figure out why she hasn't hit the upper echelons of Romance Writing Aristocracy. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read one of her novels. I promise, you won't be disappointed. Maybe her latest one?

Lily has no intention of falling in love - particularly with her recently widowed, best friend's brother. Who knows if it is her own playful nature, his outlandish behaviour, or the magic wrapped up in a gypsy medallion - but it looks like even the best laid plans are about to go astray.

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Click here for more information or to buy Not Wicked Enough

It's all that's steamy and sultry in our erotic romance options this month.

9780425246139Joey W Hill - the story witch herself - debuts a new erotic paranormal series this month.

He wants information - and her help with a sticky paranormal situation. She wants to keep her secrets - and her distance.

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Something About

9780312674618It seems only too right that this new Opal Carew menage romance comes out on Valentine's Day.

He stepped in to mend the wounds left by his best friend - but said best friend isn't going to give up easily. And she's caught in the best possible place - the middle.

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9780758269454 To finish our array of Erotic Romance this month, here is the latest erotic historical from Kate Pearce, set in a brothel in Regency England.

He grew up in a pleasure house, and knows sex is just a pleasant pastime. But schooling her in seduction is going to teach him differently.

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Simply Carnal

Oh readers, it gives me such joy to see so many contemporary romances out this month! The Publishing Gods have been listening to my pleas!

9780778313106Robyn Carr returns to Virgin River for yet another happy-ever-after ending in this (growing exponentially) small town.

Katie Malone, widowed with two young sons, makes the trek across the country to be closer to the only family she has left - but a chance encounter with a teenage-heartthrob-turned-pilot means a second chance to start a family of her own.

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Click here to buy Redwood Bend

9780749953881It's back to contemporary romance for historical superstar Lisa Kleypas, as she continues her Friday Harbour series.

Lucy's life is one betrayal after another: her fiance leaves her for her sister. Then her new chance at love turns out to be under false pretenses. With so many mistakes, broken promises, and fears, it's hard for Lucy to believe that anything can be both beautiful and strong.

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Click here to buy Rainshadow Road

9780425243688 Having spent a fair share of my time in hockey arenas, I gotta be honest - I look at this cover and all I think is, 'Eek! Cold! Put some clothes on, dammit!'. Luckily we know Deirdre Martin is going to deliver on the heat in her latest New York Blades/Irish crossover where an Irish boy-made-good has to fight to win back the girl he left behind.

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Click here to buy Breakaway

9780312536220Susan Donovan follows up her Cheri on Top novel with a sequel about Cheri's best friend Candance. Candy is down on her luck, but not so down that she considers her move back to her tiny home town a good thing. Except maybe for the sheriff. He definitely falls into the 'pro' side of the list.

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I Want Candy

9780312531188 I think you should all commend me on not throwing in a second comma in this title, because I really really really want to. MaryJanice Davidson wouldn't mind, would she? FBI Agent Cadence is back with troubles beyond finding the perfect Christmas gift for her boyfriend - a serial killer appears to have blown into town, and she needs to stop him before he kills again.

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Yours, Mine and Ours

 I'd write more here, but really all you want to know is this: new JD Robb!!!


9780749955960 If you don't already know about Eve and Roarke, please return to the rock from under which you came. Everyone else - you just want the link, right?

Have a plot summary anyways: Eve visits the set of the film based on her exploits, only to find the lines between fact and fiction blurring.

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Celebrity in Death

9780312389093This is the second novel in Lora Leigh's Sins series, about three men facing the dangers of their past in order to be able to move forward in their future.

He is plagued by nightmares of the woman he couldn't save. She has demons of her own. But there's a chance they may be able to heal each other.

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Deadly Sins

9780345517555Shiloh Walker brings her super-suspenseful Ash trilogy to a close with this February release.

She's on a quest for vengeance - and she doesn't scare easily. But he is watching her, all the time, her every move, waiting patiently until the time is right. She may not be scared - but she should be.

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If You Know Her

It's all about the antipodeans this month - new Nalini Singh and a debut novel from an Aussie to watch!
9780425246818The Guild Hunters are back, as Nalini Singh combines her short stories from this universe into one easy compendium. If you haven't read them, this is a great way to get some back story, some alternate stories, and just immerse yourself more deeply into the GH universe.

The novellas featured include Angels' Wolf, Angels' Judgement, Angels' Pawn, and the brand-new, never-before-seen, just-for-this-anthology Angels' Dance.

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Click here for more information or to buy Angels' Flight

9780425245378Jory Strong is hard to categorise - erotic romance? paranormal romance?  It doesn't matter - the take home message here is that her books are hot.

She has a skin gift - one touch and she knows your feelings, your truth, your history. Now her magic has put her in the path of two compelling men - and at odds with her family.

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Inked Magic

9781402251689Sometimes the title just says it all, doesn't it? This is the latest in Cheryl Brooks's SF Cat Star Chronicles series, set in a place far, far away.

He thinks he's only good for one thing - and he plans to share that gift with as many women as possible. She believes she's unloveable, undesirable - until he walks into her life.

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9780425247198From studs and elves to mermaids: MaryJanice Davidson returns to the sea and Fred the cranky mermaid with an allergy to fish.

Now that the Underwater Folk are no longer a secret, will Fred and Thomas finally be able to make a permanent connection? Well, the path to true love always did have its share of puddles.

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Underwater Love

9780062128188Kim Harrison returns to The Hallows as Rachel Morgan begins to realise the winding path her life has taken hasn't only affected her. Her unique blood, her unique heritage has made her a target for a horrifying project. Someone wants to create their own demons - and they need her to do it.

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Click here to buy A Perfect Blood

9780316127189YAY! New Gail Carriger month is all the Valentine's Day gift I need - apart from the flowers I expect from my husband of course. Alexia is settling into domestic life as best she can - which, let's face it, isn't necessarily going to be recognisable as domestic life, when she is summoned to Egypt and the Alexandra Hive. And, being Alexia, you know she never passes up the opportunity for adventure!

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Click here to buy Timeless
9780425245361It's always such a pleasure to introduce a new Aussie talent - and I've known Kylie Griffin for years, so it's equally wonderful to see all her hard work pay off! If you're looking for your paranormal with some fantasy mixed in, this is your author. Support your local talent! And enjoy!!

Annika is born out of hatred and retribution, and her life is one of torment. But she has a secret gift and a plan for escape. Kalan is the leader of her people's sworn enemy - and her one chance to live a life of more than just misery and pain.

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Click here for more information or to buy Vengeance Born

Prices displayed in Booktopia Romance Buzz are correct at time of publication. Website prices are subject to change at short notice. In these circumstances, the price listed in the newsletter may not be correct. In the event that a price conflict between the newsletter and website does occur, website prices will override prices listed in the newsletter.
In This Issue

Kate's Month Ahead
Nine Naughties
Erotic Romance
Paranormals & SF
Give the gift of romance to yourself this Valentine's Day - pre-order one of the amazing array of novels coming out soon now!

Suzanne Brockmann
Heather Graham
JR Ward
Thea Harrison
Meredith Duran
Suzanne Enoch
Tessa Dare
Tawna Fenske


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