Booktopia Romance Buzz
May 2012 | Edition Thirty-Seven
Gentle Readers,
What a month for romance! Whatever your flavour, you're going to find it here, because the publishers have pulled out the big guns and delivered! Am I mixing my metaphors? Quite possibly! But I'm just that excited!

I'm so very pleased to have Sherry Thomas answer our Nine Naughty Questions : she ranks among my all time favourite historical writers, and I can't wait to introduce (or re-introduce) you to her! Check out her answers - the last one is particularly good!

What I Just Finished: I've been on a category romance binge lately, and I just finished Rachel Bailey's What Happens in Charleston, which is wonderful, intense fun!

What I'm Reading Now : I'm a lucky, lucky girl with an advance reader's copy of the new Julia Quinn. I'm deep in the Smith-Smythe world, and could barely tear myself away to write this newsletter!

What I Can't Wait For: Guys! Have you seen this newsletter? I can't wait for every single book! (in particular, check out the choice in contemporaries. I'm going to grab the new Roxanne St Claire - it's a great price!)

Until next month, happy reading!


Kate Cuthbert
Booktopia Romance Buzz
sherryblueLisa Kleypas calls her "powerfully original", and I can't think of a better way to describe Sherry Thomas - her historical novels are inventive, intense, original, fresh. I mourned when I found out she wouldn't release a book in 2011, and waited, breathlessly, until now - May 2012, when we finally have a brand new one to read.

I'm delighted to welcome her to the Romance Buzz this month, and I can't recommend her highly enough. If you love historical romance, you'll love Sherry Thomas. I guarantee it.

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

The last time I considered becoming a writer, before I actually sat down to write a book when I was twenty-three, was at about age ten.  I was a voracious reader who didn't have enough books to fill my hunger and I thought I wouldn't mind becoming a children's writer.

But I wasn't serious about it.  And the few times I attempted to write a story, I didn't know how to proceed beyond the basic setup.  So I'm definitely not a born writer with a stack of completed manuscripts under the bed by the time she hit puberty. 

I continued happily not writing anything much all through school and college.  But then my life took a sharp turn.  Instead of going on to graduate school, as I'd always planned, I found myself a stay-at-home mom by the age of twenty-one.

One day, when my firstborn was about eighteen months old, I got a romance from the library.  It was by an author I'd read a great deal in my teenage years, but alas, the book proved less than satisfying.  Had I read it at a different time in my life, I'd have shrugged and gone on to the next thing.  But I was at the point where every free minute was precious and I was acutely unhappy that this book had sucked up what little time I had that day and not given my any pleasure.

Click here for more details or to buyBy that evening I was babbling to my husband that I should be writing romances.  That it would be a good way to make a few dollars while sitting at home.  That surely I couldn't do any worse than that book.

Aha, guess what? I couldn't do any better either, at least not for many years.  I wrote five manuscripts of various description, had another child somewhere in the middle, had an agent at one point, but never got an offer. 

It wasn't until the second child was about to go off to kindergarten and I about to go off to grad school that I queried one last time.  Six weeks later I had an agent.  We sold the book a week after my classes started and that became my debut Private Arrangements.

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 don't ever feel exposed because it is my policy never to write my personal experiences into my books.  I will even delete lines if I feel that's me, rather than a character, expressing a certain opinion. 

But those policies do not make my books any less personal.  Because in the end, my books are still driven by my deepest convictions about love, courage, kindness, redemption, and the capacity of the human heart. 

3.    Click here for more details or to buyPlease tell us about your latest novel...

In BEGUILING THE BEAUTY , a story set in 1896, we have a young, eligible duke who is also a naturalist-he'd be called an evolutionary biologist today-giving a lecture at Harvard University.  When asked about the evolutionary significance of beauty, to illustrate his point that the pull of beauty often overrides the principles of civilization, he enumerates the sins of a great society beauty.

Little does he know, said great society beauty happens to be in the audience.  And though he never mentions her by name, she recognises a highly distorted version of herself.  This is a knife in the heart to her, as the duke drags up painful memories that she has been trying to bury for many years.

Our beauty, however, has no idea that the duke has been in love with her ever since one glimpse of her ten years ago, despite the fact that he believes her to be quite the rotten egg.  So angry beauty plots revenge in the form of seduction aboard the ocean liner Rhodesia.

And the duke, who's been aching to forget the uber-beauty, falls head over heels in love with the mysteriously veiled stranger who calls herself Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg...

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

If you've ever seen the inside of a romance writer's house while she is on deadline, you will never entertain that notion again.  :)  She is often terribly hungry because deadlines make her pathologically famished.  And she hasn't slept for days because one doesn't sleep when carrying one's book up Mount Doom.

When the book is finally turned in she looks like an extra from Dawn of the Dead, her house looks like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have been by for tea, and for the next three days she will be gently drooling on herself. 

Then she gathers up the courage to step on the scale, in the hope that her indiscriminate food intake during those final days had somehow been miraculously flushed out of her system.  That's when you will hear her scream, even in Australia.  :)

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?

Around the time of our tenth anniversary-perhaps on the day of, I'm terrible at pinpointing the exact timing of events-His Hawtness and I were talking in the kitchen.  I still remember that he stood in the doorway, his hands braced on the door frame above him.  And he said, "Yeah, it's been ten good years."

Like any other marriage, we'd had good times and not-so-good times, especially in the beginning, when I was very young and completely unprepared for motherhood.  But somehow, when he said that, it all became good times.

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 think in a romance novel, sex is only as important as the changes it brings to the relationship.  A good sex scene has to be fraught with emotional peril, otherwise it is not very interesting either to read or to write. 

Click here for more details or to buy7.    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?


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

Part of the reason is that they have the overwhelmingly alpha heroes that readers no longer accept in subgenres like historical fiction.  But there is always room in the feminine fantasy for them.  So Steve Morgan from Sweet Savage Love turned into a werewolf. :)

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

Read.  And rejoice when you come across a book so good it makes you despair.  And then resolve to write a book just as good.  If you don't set your standard high, how will you know what you are capable of achieving?

A romance newsletter writer is not meant to play favourites, but guys! Charlaine Harris! Nalini Singh! My biggest worry in the world now is determining which I'll read first!
Click here for more details or to buyThere are only two books left in the Sookie Stackhouse series, and this is one of them. So hold on tight with both hands, and enjoy the ride, because it's going to be over much too soon.

It's all Bon Temps bound in book 12 - Sookie's got her same love problems, and her same vampire problems, but naturally that's not enough. She's also got a new enemy in town (how does a nice girl keep pissing so many people off?), and said enemy is determined to destroy Sookie, by first destroying everything around her.

Now there are two covers for this book and two formats, and one is cheaper than the other. I've put the more expensive hardcover here, because I love these covers, plus these are the covers I've been collecting. But both are listed below. So it's your decision: choose wisely!

Click here to buy Deadlocked (Hardcover)
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Click here for more details or to buy DEADLOCKED
Sookie Stackhouse Series : Book 12
By Charlaine Harris

Blurb: With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it's the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman's front yard--especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it's up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl's fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who's out to make Sookie's world come crashing down.

Click here to buy Deadlocked (Paperback)
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This second novel in Rachel Vincent's adult urban fantasy series should answer some unfulfilled questions from the first - but I wouldn't bet against another cliffhanger ending!

This novel is about Kori, the shadow-walker, who is about to face an unimaginable decision: her life, or that of her little sister.

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Click here to buy Shadow Bound

Sherrilyn Kenyon is back in the League universe - this is book 5. Also, the hero's name is Darling Cruel. What else could you possibly want to know?

If you think your family has problems, you've got nothing on this guy. Well, unless you're Hamlet. What with murderous uncles and destructive altar egos, it's a wonder Darling will find any time whatsoever for resistance leader Zarya.

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Click here to buy Born of Silence
Click here for more details or to buy I have a shameful admission to make here - angels are all very well and good, but it's really Nalini Singh's Psy/Changelings that put flutters in my tummy and bounces in my step. So you can imagine how fluttery and bouncy I am to have a new novel to read - about two damaged Changelings who can heal each other, if only they can get over their own pain.

See? I'm fluttery already.

Adria is a wolf with a past, one she's trying to move on from. Riaz is all lone-wolfy and reserved and utterly irresistible. But he's got his own past, and his own pain, and his feelings for Adria seem like a betrayal of the highest order. It's not all about them, however; with war brewing in the background, the whole world is in peril, and Adria and Riaz are going to have to decide where they stand, and what they are willing to risk to survive.

Like with Charlaine up there, this book is available in two formats and two covers.

Click here to buy Tangle of Need (Hardcover)
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Click here for more details or to buyBlurb: Discover the exhilarating risks of passion in the breathtaking new Psy-Changeling novel by Nalini Singh, the New York Times bestselling "alpha author of paranormal romance" (Booklist).

Adria, wolf changeling and resilient soldier, has made a break with the past - one as unpredictable in love as it was in war. Now comes a new territory and a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant already sworn to a desperate woman who belongs to another.

For Riaz, the primal attraction he feels for Adria is a staggering betrayal. For Adria, his dangerous lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It consumes her. It terrifies her. It threatens to undermine everything she has built of her new life. But fighting their wild compulsion toward one another proves a losing battle.

Their coming together is an inferno...and a melding of two wounded souls who promise each other no commitment, no ties, no bonds. Only pleasure. Too late, they realise that they have more to lose than they ever imagined. Drawn into a cataclysmic Psy war that may alter the fate of the world itself, they must make a decision that might just break them both.

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Add some excitement to your life this month...


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Brains meet brawn in Kat Martin's latest Raines of Wind Canyon Series.

She is a top executive who is not about to trust her life to some hired gun's 'hunch'. He has no intention of being dismissed as just a bodyguard, especially when something has his gut all tied up. Can two alpha characters find one happy ending?

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Against the Sun

Catherine Mann brings us the third novel in her Elite Force Series.

Getting over a relationship isn't easy at the best of times, let alone when you find yourself in the midst of a traitorous plot that threatens national security, and only your ex-boyfriend can help you...

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Under Fire

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It's all high seas romance and adventure when Cherry Adair returns to her Cutter Cay series.

Treasure hunter Logan has pulled many things out of sunken ships, but a beautiful gallery owner is a first. Her knowledge of ancient artifacts is useful, but something tells him the lady is not being entirely honest...

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Click here to buy Vortex
Reader's market this month: looks like I can never complain about not having enough contemporary romance to read ever again!

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La Nora doesn't need any blather from me - here's a plot summary of book 2 in her Inn Boonsboro trilogy.

Owen is the organiser of the Montgomery's, but his pedantic list-making ensures the Inn is going to open on time. But how can he turn his talents to seduction, when his childhood sweetheart - and his first love - Avery comes on the scene?

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Click here to buy The Last Boyfriend

Rachel Gibson brings it back home to Texas - and into a pink bridesmaid dress. (Big hair isn't mentioned, but should be assumed.)

Sadie Holloway left town as soon as she could, but she's back now, at her cousin's wedding. In a horrible dress. Surely a good-looking, ex-Navy SEAL like Vince is not only warranted, but deserved.

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Click here to buy Rescue Me


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He may not want the land, but he's going to fight for it. She loves the land, and won't give it up to some city slicker who doesn't appreciate it. But it's hard to take sides in a war where there's so much fraternising with the enemy. Susan Mallery's latest Fool's Gold novel.

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Summer Days

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He's loved her his whole life, but his past with her brother has kept him from making his move. Now she's in danger, and he's the man to protect her. After all, he's a cop. It's only professional courtesy. Honest.
Carly Phillips
latest Serenedipity novel.

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Click here to buy Karma

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She knows exactly who he is - and remembers their hot, masked interlude at a costume party - but he doesn't recognise her. Which is good, because she really needs his business, and can't risk dabbling in pleasure. Kate Angell's new Richmond Rogues novel.

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Sweet Spot


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I'm all for being barefoot in the sand, but I've gotta admit, that's as bare as I'm willing to go. There are just some places that don't need the extra exfoliation. Ahem. Roxanne St Clair! She's escaped her romantic suspense baddies for the moment to a beach-side contemporary.

Tragedy brings opportunity, and Lacey finally has the chance to fulfill her dream. And not even a hot, younger architect is going to distract her.

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Click here to buy Barefoot in the Sand

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Just say 'I do' to this wedding themed anthology:
  • a fashion exec and a gardner (but no hockey players) from Deirdre Martin
  • A bridal planner who has to get up close and personal with her ex - the best man from Christie Ridgway
  • And an undercover food blogger determined to figure out the secrets of a French chocolatier from Laura Florand

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Click here to buy Kiss the Bride

Finger-tip singeing action from our erotic romance authors this month!
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Look, Lauren Dane novels are dark and intense and erotic, but I have to admit to giggling just a little every time they talk about The Supreme Leader of the Imperialist Universe. (yes, such a character actually exists!)

Vincenz is his son, exiled, fighting against his father (who can't possibly be a good guy with that title). He's helped by his best friend, Julian. Aid comes from an unexpected quarter: Hannah, a victim of Vincenz's father, who is intent on rebuilding herself. But war has no room for personal feelings, and the passion the three share is more dangerous than anything the Imperialists can devise.

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Click here to buy Captivated

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A new erotic paranormal novel from Joey W. Hill featuring her witches, but also succubi and incubi, just to add a little spice to the mix.

Raina's got a good gig going. Her succubus heritage allows her to control her pet demons, and her bordello allows them to feed without killing their victims. It's a win-win all around, and she sees no reason to change. Until Mikhael shows up, a rogue incubi with a secret - and an incredibly dangerous enemy that he's just led to Raina's door.

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In the Company of Witches

SO many amazing historical novels out this month! Just start with our Author of the Month and read your way through to happiness!
Click here for more details or to buySQUEE!!!! A new Julia Quinn novel!!!



Okay. I'm done now. For the moment. This is the second Smith-Smythe musicale novel, and interestingly does not include a Smith-Smythe lady, but a Smith-Smythe gentleman. The lady in question, Anne, readers will recognise as the reluctant governess from the first book, the one character who can play her instrument. But governesses have no place flirting with Earls, even ones hell-bent on tempting them.

There's a mystery plot too. And other things happen. But really?


Click here to buy A Night Like This
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Cecilia Grant impressed me so much with her debut novel, that I put her on my top 10 for the year list for 2011. It looks as if her sophomore attempt is just as surprising.

She's a kept woman with a head for numbers and a desperate plan: make enough money gambling to win her freedom. He has a mission of his own at the tables, and it doesn't involve getting fleeced by a woman. Together they may find the way to beat the house; they just have to manage the risks. All the risks. Including each other.

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A Gentleman Undone

Ashley March writes beautifully adult romances - no silly plot twists or blatant misunderstandings. Just affairs of the heart that are smart, witty, and addictive. If you're going to give a new author I try, may I suggest?

His wealth doesn't make up for his middle-class background, but an aristocratic marriage just might. So he can't be distracted by anything - or anyone - else, including the daughter of his rival, the one flaw in his plans, the one person who can ruin everything.

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Click here to buy My Lady Rival


Grace Burroughs is back with more tales of a match-making Duke.

Maggie is illegitimate, and she's resigned to living a quiet, dignified life. Her plans are foiled when some personal letters are stolen, and blackmail soon follows. She enlists the help of investigator Benjamin Hazlit, who may turn out to be even more damaging to her life of solitude.

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Lady Maggie's Secret

Elizabeth Boyle also  plans to spoil quiet lives of solitude in her latest novel.

Tabitha is a penniless spinster - until an unexpected windfall changes the course of her life. But the necessary marriage to gain financial security would be respectable and cold. Is untold wealth worth giving up on the adventure of wickedness?

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Along Came a Duke

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It's a Scots/ Egyptian mix for Karen Hawkins this month (but no kilts on the cover. For shame, marketing department!)

They are on the hunt for a priceless amulet, even if it means returning to her home - where she vowed never to return. But things aren't quite the same. For one, she keeps getting called 'Princess'. Can they solve the mystery of her past before it catches up with them?

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The Taming of a
Scottish Princess

Click here for more details or to buy FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
by E L James

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana's quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her too - but on his own terms.

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Click here for more details or to buy RAPTURE
by Lauren Kate

The sky is dark with wings. . . .

In Rapture, the highly anticipated fourth and final novel in the Fallen series, Luce and Daniel are together. . . but for how long?

Can history be rewritten?

Or are some punishments eternal?

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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 with...

Paranormal Romance

Romantic Suspense

Contemporary Romance

Erotic Romance

Historical Romance

June Preorders:
I've done the work so you don't have to. No, no, don't thank me. Keeping all my gentle readers happy and well-stocked is thanks enough...

But chocolate is always welcome.

Laurell K Hamilton
Janet Evanovich
Christina Brooke
Jeannine Frost
MaryJanice Davidson
Keri Arthur
Loretta Chase
Larissa Ione


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