Booktopia Romance Buzz
July 2012 | Edition Thirty-Nine
Welcome to the July Romance Buzz
Gentle Readers,
It is no doubt completely egotistical to think that the massive turn out of quality reads this month has anything to do with my birthday (the 2nd, in case you're wondering), but I'm going to go ahead and believe it anyways. Thanks Authors! Thanks Publishers! You have indeed made my birthday month a wonderful one for reading!

Are you in Queensland (or northern NSW)? Or maybe you just fancy a Gold Coast holiday with the bonus opportunity to meet all your favourite authors ever all in once place? Maybe you should mark this in your calendar:
Click on the image to get more information, and I'll see you there!

What I've Just Finished: Being in a cowboy state of mind, I picked up Linda Lael Miller's Big Sky Country, the prequel to Big Sky Mountain available this month. Strong, silent cowboy sheriff hero - enough said!

What I'm Reading Right Now: I can't express how much I adore Meredith Duran's historicals. I'm only 11 pages in, and already I'm completely sucked in to At Your Pleasure

What I Can't Wait For: Check out all the Aussie authors out this month! I'm especially looking forward to delving back into Kylie Griffin's Light Blade world. The second in the series is out this month.

Until next month, happy reading!


Kate Cuthbert
Booktopia Romance Buzz

This month I've asked Tracey O'Hara to answer our Nine Naughty Questions, and I'm absolutely delighted she came on board. It's very clear why her Dark Brethren series is so very, very good - she's a natural storyteller! If you haven't checked out Night's Cold Kiss or Death's Sweet Embrace , what are you waiting for? Bordering on romantic horror, these books break the paranormal romance mould with dark as night settings, complex, three-dimensional characters, and an atmosphere that will set your hair on end. If you want dark - not just dusk - you really have to read these books.

True story: Tracey gave me permission not to read Death's Sweet Embrace 'cause she wrote it scary and she knows I'm a wimp! (I did read it - it did scare the pants off of me - it was totally worth it!)

Sin's Dark Caress is out this month. Check out Tracey's answers, then check out her books.

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

I'd have to be one of the most unromantic people on earth so it's really weird that I would be a romance author, but I guess that's why a lot of my books have that darker edge. I've never been into chocolate and flowers and stuff, but I have been with my husband for 24 years so there must be something there.

Before publication, I was probably an oddity in that I didn't start reading romance until after I started working on my first book Night's Cold Kiss . I have always been a SciFi, Fantasy and Action/Adventure geek. When most girls were sneaking their mum's romance novels, I was stealing my dad's Wilbur Smith adventure novels. Though now I look back - they really are just romance novels for men,

Don't get me wrong. I do love a good happy ending and I do love it when a book takes me on an emotional journey. I think that is one the things I love about romance that is missing from a lot of other genres (that is a very generalised personal experience statement, so please don't condemn me).

I also started writing late in life. I was 37 before I wrote a word; I am 44 now. My Erotic Romances tend to be much more romantic than my Urban Fantasy so I definitely say I was made not born.

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?

Glitz and glamour - I'll have some of that please!! But seriously I think you are right. Readers love romance for the very fact they are taken on that emotional journey. Book after book there is quite a gambit of emotions that good romance will and should subject the reader to. Well, that is my mark of a good romance story. 

Sometimes not all those emotions are positive. We love to hate with a passion an evil antagonist; we want to scratch out the eyes of another female or male character who threatens the happiness of our heroine. But in the end it's that satisfactory conclusion that makes me sigh, and be a little sad the book has ended, that keeps me coming back.

As for writing, do I feel exposed? That's something I have never really thought of before. To me it is the story I'm writing, and not about me. A lot of my books contain as much murder, dark themes and horrific deaths as romance and positive emotions. What does that say about me? Am I a closet psychopath? I don't think so - at least I hope not.

But what I do know is that I love to write what I write. I don't think about it as being part of me. It's a story that comes for somewhere in my psyche, but is not who I am. That is what being a story teller is all about.

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

Sin's Dark Caress is the latest Dark Brethren novel. It focuses on Bianca Sin, a character who has been there in the background of the first couple of books. She is a forensic thurmaturgist which means she studies crime scenes where magic has been used to commit a crime, or uses magic instruments to decipher things about a crime scene. She is a broken witch - i.e. she can't wield magic herself. She teams up with a homicide cop who has his own problems, like being addicted to designer parahuman drugs. This story has less overt romance in it, it is more like the romantic tension between two protagonists on cop shows, like Bones and Booth or Castle and Beckett.

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

Oh yes of course it is - the days are just filled with it.
Kidding - though how I wish. I get up every week day and go to a day job; I cook and clean for my family; and then I write as well. It's just like have 2 full time jobs. I wish it was all champagne and caviar (though not really caviar - yuck), but I'm just the same as every other wife and working mother out there.

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?

Okay - the moment that comes to mind for me is the day I first saw the man who became my husband. As I said - I have never been the romantic type, but the first time I saw Mr O'Hara I actually felt that chest tightening, butterflies-in-stomach, heart-in-my-throat sensation. And occasionally, even nearly 25 years later, I still get a bit if that.

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 how important the sex is to a romance novel depends on the novel itself. In my first novel sex was a large factor because the story is about a passionate, hot-headed character. And in my latest novel, there is no sex between my hero and heroine because that is not where they are at in their relationship. So the story dictates the importance.

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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?

Gosh. That is a hard one. I do read romance - but I read a lot of other things too. So I am going to have to answer with some of book that really hit my romantic bone.

1. When the Lion Feed - Wilbur Smith. Now on the surface this is not a romance novel. But it is a story full of romance, and I was 11 when I first read it and totally fell in love with Sean Courtney and Africa. I have not read it for several years though.
2. The Perfect Rake - Anne Gracie. This was one of my first regencies and I fell totally in love with her characters and her voice. I have just bought the Kindle version for another re-read. (Kate: This is one of my very very favourite novels ever!)
3. Dark Lover - J.R Ward . This is not so much a re-read, but was the first paranormal romance which I read that had a darker side.
4. Dracula - Bram Stoker. Yes I know - not another romance story, but it does have lust, desire and seduction. And now you can see why I write what I write.
5. The Mammoth Hunters - Jean M Auel. This is the third book in the Earth's Children series, but it nearly broke my heart and then made me so happy again at the end when the hero and heroine finally got back together.

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

It could be all the hot and dark heroes in them.  That's what gets my vote anyway.

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

Write, write and write some more. Keep writing and learning. Don't be in a hurry to publish. Perfect your craft first. Because once you publish - it is a race to keep on top of competing deadlines and promotion, not on improving your writing.

So you may have heard of this little trilogy going around? Grey something or another?

We here at the Romance Buzz are all friends, and we're open-minded about what others read. After all - we read romance novels. We know what it is to be judged. So if you're a Grey lover, more power to you. You enjoy everyone of those shades.

But if you're after something else, I've put together this section with a few options for those readers looking for erotic romance in other colours, including one of my all-time favourite erotic romance authors. I've also throw in some local choices if you're of a mind to support home-grown eroticism.
Gentle Readers, I love her. I love her with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. And I give my personal guarantee that you will love her too. Further, because we are lucky, lucky readers, you get your choice of flavours from Ms Day - she writes erotic historicals, erotic paranormals, and erotic contemporary novels. Let me tell you about a few:

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The Taster
Not ready to commit to a full novel based solely on my word? That's okay - I respect that. Try this then: Hot in Handcuffs. a three-story anthology centred around the men in law enforcement and their tools of the trade (so to speak!). Also features Shayla Black and Shiloh Walker and a pair of pink handcuffs on the cover (if only they were covered in fur!)

We can get this now for you from the US for $17.35 or wait untill August to buy from Penguin Australia when we will sell it for $15.95

Click here to buy Hot in Handcuffs now at $17.35

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The Renegades
In her erotic paranormal world, Day combines lycans, vampires, and angels in a dark, heady mix as each race vies for supremacy in the supernatural underworld. Of course, winning would be a lot easier if there weren't so much fraternising with the enemy! A Hunger So Wild is the second book in this series, and it's out this month. The first book is A Touch of Crimson, and also available now.

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The Trilogy
On the surface, these books have a lot in common with 50 Shades, but where 50 Shades falls short (in terms of character development, writing maturity, etc), Bared to You soars. Eva and Gideon are fully realised, complex characters with flaws and issues and barriers and qualities and virtues and souls. Their relationship is provocative, highly erotic, deeply intense, and utterly unforgettable. This is my to-beat book of the year so far.

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Kate's Favourite
This book represented a lot of firsts for me: my first Sylvia Day novel. My first erotic historical novel. The first time I really believed that erotica and romance could mix in an organic way and become more than the sum of their parts. Lady Winter is in trouble with the law. So is Christopher St John. The only way to save their respective necks is to turn the other one in. One will succeed. One will hang. Unless they find a third option - one that risks everything.

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Now these two Australian published novels are erotica, not necessarily erotic romance, so many of the romance conventions won't necessarily come into play here. If you're after some heat, this is a novel to read, but that heat doesn't necessarily come with an emotional chaser. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just a head's up!

Emma is a wild spirit, one who finds fulfilment in sensuality. One year after marrying David, she's finding it hard to maintain the passion. Then she meets her neighbour's 18-year-old son and sees in him a potential and a very adult teacher-student relationship.

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Click here to buy The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings

Read Natasha Walker's answers to Booktopia's Ten Terrifying Questions

Desperately Sensual - Kylie Ladd reviews THE SECRET LIVES OF EMMA: BEGINNINGS

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Make sure you check out the intro to The Secret Lives of Emma, 'cause it holds true here too - this is an erotic novel, not necessarily an erotic romance, so the treatment of the relationship and the denouement may not be what you would normally expect from a romance.

But, you know, go ahead! Broaden your horizons!

Our unnamed protagonist arrives in Sydney on a lecture tour and runs into an ex-lover who suggests a drink for old time's sake.

Then he suggests something more: 48 hours of no inhibitions and unconditional surrender.

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Click here to buy Destined to Play

Read Indigo Bloome's answers to Booktopia's Ten Terrifying Questions
Click here for more details or to order...Still unsatisfied? Try these authors on for size:

Time travel has never been proven - and everyone who's tried has ended up mad or dead. Better just stick to historical romance for your past-time fix.


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Perennial favourite Jane Feather presents her heros with an...unusual challenge in her latest series of connected historical romances.

He was forbidden from marrying his beloved, so he will now have his revenge. He will only pass his fortune to those of his nephews who marry fallen women - one like Alexandra, perhaps, with deep secrets and plans of her own.

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An Unsuitable Bride

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Discover Manda Collins - the new kid on the block that's getting a lot of attention, in all the right ways.

You can lead a wallflower to a ball, but you can't make her dance ... unless you're a young, handsome Lord who sees past the shy exterior to the fiery spirit within. Being noticed has its perils though - how can she continue to hide her secrets?

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How To Romance A

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Jennifer Haymore's 3rd Donovan novel brings with it a surprise.

When Will pulls the tiny boat out of the ocean, he could never guess what he would find - his lost love, long thought dead by all who loved her. But years have passed and changed them both. Can they get back to where they once were?

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Pleasures of a Tempted Lady

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Let's be honest - when we think historical romance, we think glittering ballrooms, London society, and Regency romps. So it's kind of refreshing to step out of one very crowded 20 year span into any one of the hundreds and hundreds of other historical years to choose from. Pamela Clare has done just that with her McKinnon's Rangers series, setting them in the United States during those tumultuous years of opening the West. Defiant is book three.

To say that Major Connor McKinnon does not respect his commander is putting it mildly. To say that Connor does not want to go after his commander's wayward daughter who's gone and got her fool self kidnapped by the Shawnee tribe is also an understatement. But orders are orders and Connor is about to find some of his misconceptions challenged - soundly. Lady Sarah Woodville is nothing like he expected, and more than he deserves. But there's more than his heart at risk when it comes to securing her freedom.

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So it was probably me you heard whinging all last year about how Sherry Thomas wasn't releasing any novels in 2011. She released two this year. I'm mollified. Slightly.

It was a sensible arrangement when she went into it: she was rich, but untitled. He was an Earl, but poor. They would marry to help each other out, wait 8 years to consummate in deference to her age, have one heir, and lead separate lives. What was not sensible, however, was falling in love with her husband.

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Liz Carlyle has the best dressed heroines in historical romance. Seriously, they're always dripping in one jewel or another. This month? It's all about the pearls.

Pearls might suggest a classy, demure kind of heroine. One who knows her place in the world. And you'd be right - up to a point. But classy, demure, proper - that's also only good up to a point. Anisha needs refuge, and 'proper' isn't cutting it. She needs the most dangerous man in London. But is he willing to take the gamble?

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The Bride Wore Pearls
So much to choose from this month, whether you like sweet, sexy, or sassy!
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If you haven't yet heard of this novel, it might be time to look around you: is it possible you're under a rock? Boomerang Bride has earned accolades, been showered in award nominations, and comes from our own backyard - Fiona Lowe lives in Victoria. It's now available in print for the first time, so take tihs opportunity to snatch up your copy.

Matilda took a chance and risked everything for love. Now she's standing all alone in front of an empty store front on an unfamiliar street in an unfamiliar town in an unfamiliar country wearing her Gran's wedding dress and holding a cake. Okay. So things aren't going quite as planned. But Matilda is resourceful. She'll figure something out. She just...needs a minute.

Marc's plans aren't going quite the way he expected either. He wants in and out of his hometown as quickly as possible, but stumbling across a groom-less bride in the middle of Main Street may throw a spanner in the works.

Still, plans are made to be broken, and sometimes the best things can't be planned for at all.

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From Jill Shalvis:

People are hooking up all over the place in Lucky Harbour! So life hasn't been all that good lately, and she's back in Lucky Harbour working as a dog walker for a busy ER doc. But when his nanny doesn't show up one day, she goes from dog walker to babysitter and to playing house with the sexy single dad. But can it last?

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Forever and a Day

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From Susan Andersen:

She has no interest in a man who abandoned his newborn son to follow his own career goals. It's only a minor glitch that he's almost too damn attractive to hate. He knows he made a mistake, and he's back to try and fix it as best he can. He's not going to leave again without his child, no matter who is standing in his way.

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That Thing Called Love

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From Molly O'Keefe:

It's not that she doesn't understand his point of view - after all, he's worked the ranch for years while she took off to the city. It's just that the ranch is hers, and now that her divorce is finalised, it's the only thing she has, the only way she can start a new life for herself and her child. He's just going to have to understand.

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Can't Hurry Love



From Linda Lael Miller: appearances can be deceiving.

He's the town's golden boy, a rough and tumble cowboy with a history with the ladies. She's picture-perfect, cool, calm, successful, everything he's not. They couldn't be any different from each other; they couldn't be any more wrong for each other. But maybe a little different is just what they need.

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From Robyn Carr : sometimes what we really want was in front of us all along.

Charlene has kept her promise to herself for 25 years - she will never get married again. But something about Dennis has her agreeing, and the wedding party is about to begin. But her daughter is jealous, her fiance is spending an awful lot of time with the wedding planner, and she just can't seem to get her ex-husband off her mind.

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Click here for details or to orderYou may remember Lucy Jorik from Susan Elizabeth Phillips' 2011 novel Call Me Irresistible. The daughter of a former President of the United States, Lucy walked away from a lifetime of duty when she walked away from her perfect fiance. The freedom is dizzying, but also terrifying. Lucy has had a Secret Service escort for as long as she can remember. Now she's suddenly, completely, breath-takingly alone. In a dark alley.

Well, maybe not alone after all. He's tall, dark, and every inch of him is dangerous. Not quite the start to the adventure Lucy craves. But beggars can't be choosers, and he might just be her hero on a black motorcycle.

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Click here for more info or to buy The Great Escape
As if we need more chills this winter - our authors are serving them up with helpings to spare! Bundle up warmly, and make sure you've got the heater on. These tales are sure to bring the shivers. 


From Catherine Coulter:

Savich and Sherlock are back, and this time it's personal: a longtime friend and San Francisco Judge witnesses intimidation in his courtroom, and then he is shot in the back. The FBI Agents must race against time and their own fear to save their friend and bring his shooter to justice.

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From Heather Graham:

In 1898 a ship carrying an Egyptian sacophagus goes down, taking every soul with it. Now divers exploring the wreck start dying mysteriously. The expedition's financier calls in paranormal investigator Katya Solokov to help. But she and forensics guru Will Chan are about to discover that some secrets are best left buried.

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The Unspoken


From Lucy Monroe:

He's the man who gets things done, and nothing stands in his way. She's the brainy do-gooder out to save the world. Things would have worked out okay, but she's under suspicion of espionage and he's under orders to dispose of her. Problem is, all he wants to do is seduce her.

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Close Quarters

Click here for details or to order After some local scares this month? Check out Helene Young's latest airborne thriller, set in Far North Queensland. Helene's moved publishers with this book, and there's some definite changes - for one, a lot happens on the ground. For another, long-time readers will see much stronger character and relationship development. But all that's made Helene an award-winning suspenseful story-teller is still there, and romantic suspense fans are sure to enjoy!

Kaitlyn Scott's life changed in the most painful way imaginable, and too escape, she's relocated her whole remaining family from their hometown to the Atherton Tablelands to heal and forget. But someone is still stalking them, and as Kait continues to investigate her husband's death, he's creeping ever closer, determined to settle old scores.

Kait doesn't realise that she has help in the form of Ryan O'Donnell. She sees him as an enigmatic neighbour, not knowing he's an undercover cop who's traced an arsonist to the area, and is becoming more and more desperate to save Kait from the danger she doesn't even know she's in.

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Some of the biggest names in paranormal romance continue their best-selling, award-winning series this month - and Kelley Armstrong finishes off a decade of Otherworld Women.


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From Christine Feehan:

The Ghostwalkers, already living in shadows to protect themselves face a threat on two fronts: one, a dictator bent on catastrophe, the other a seductress playing a dangerous game. They have no choice but to bring in the big guns: two people with unbelievable power and nothing to live for.

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Samurai Game

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From Lynsay Sands:

Now normally being kidnapped and tied up would be a bad thing, but she just can't seem to see the negative when there's clearly more to her captor than meets the eye. He isn't prone to crime, normally, but he's desperate and the only one who can help him is her.

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The Lady is a Vamp

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From Ilona Andrews:

In the world of Kate Daniels, there are more stories to tell. She only took the job to get her life back on track. She didn't expect it to throw her in the path of a were-killer - and her uber-alpha ex-lover. But complicated relationships just have to take a back seat to saving the world.

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Gunmetal Magic

Click here for more details or to order It may seem a bit obvious to call the thirteenth book of a thirteen-book series 13, but what else to title the epic finale of one of the seminal paranormal stories? Kelley Armstrong brought werewolves to romance with Bitten, and since then she's been a voice for strong female characters, introducing witches, ghosts, demons, necromancers, and more, and thoroughly defining 'kick-ass'.

Savannah is still standing, though she's bearing some scars. Her half-brother is safe - for now. But the Supernatural Liberation Movement has plans. Dark plans. Scary plans. Earth-shattering plans. Though she will have Paige, Adam, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and many others by her side, Savannah will have to draw on strength she doesn't even know she has if she is going to save the world one more time.

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Keri Arthur's Ripple Creek series is being re-released, starting this month with Beneath a Rising Moon.

It's an unorthodox way of solving a murder, but Neva sees no other way - she must seduce the boldest man in the Sinclair pack and discover what he knows. She will use Duncan's appetite for women against him and take what she needs. But Neva is playing a deeper game than she knows, and when Duncan discovers her deception, he's going to change the rules.

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Beneath a Rising Moon

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Carrie Vaughn continues the adventures of Kitty Norville this month with the 9th novel in the series.

Kitty travels to London to present the keynote address at the first International Conference on Paranatural Studies, but they aren't the only show in town: the vampires are holding their conference as well, and Kitty is about to be schooled in the Long Game in a way she never expected. There are disadvantages to being in the spotlight.

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Click here for more details or to orderNow I admit, I'm wasn't a big fan of Deborah Harkness's first novel in her All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches. But diversity is what makes the reading world go around, and I know there are many of you out there who thought it was groovy. Well, you're the lucky readers this month, because the long-awaited sequel is now available, detailing the continued adventures of Diana and Matthew.

At the end of ADW, Diana and Matthew risk their lives to find the elusive Ashmole 782 manuscript by travelling back in time to 1590. The spell works, but it looks like the past might not be the haven that they had hoped. Matthew falls back into old habits, spending time with the unruly vampires known as the School of Night. Meanwhile Diana seeks a mentor to help her control her newfound powers.

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Click here for more details or to orderAussie author Kylie Griffin follows up her boundary-pushing fantasy novel Vengeance Born with a sequel in the same world (and featuring secondary characters that I was dying to see become primary!).

So much was revealed over the course of Vengeance Born , truths that have set the human world topsy-turvy. They would have set the demon world askew as well, but the demons don't know. Yet. Only the Na'Chi - half demon, half human castouts - are aware. But knowing hasn't meant accepting, and the Na'Chi still find themselves on the outskirts of the human community, with no place to call home. When violence erupts, it seems the fragile alliance forged between the Na'Chi and humans is destined to fail. But the arrival of the demon horde make cooperation necessary if anyone is to survive. In the middle sits Varian, leader of the Na'Chi and a gifted warrior with a dark side. A dark side that only Kymora, human priestess can calm. When the war arrives, Varian needs to learn to embrace his whole self in order to save not only his people, but his blossoming relationship with Kymora.

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Click here to buy Alliance Forged
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.

Click here to order Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings

In This Issue

Kate's Month Ahead

Nine Naughty Questions

Erotic Romance

Historical Romance

Contemporary Romance

Romantic Suspense

Paranormal Romance

Fantasy Romance


There are some great choices in August releases - pre-order now, and don't miss out on new books by your favourite authors!


Julie Garwood


Lora Leigh
Lisa Kleypas
Sherrilyn Kenyon

Eloisa James

Victoria Dahl

Robin D Owens

MaryJanice Davidson

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