Booktopia Romance Buzz
September 2013 | Edition Seven
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Welcome to the September Romance Buzz!
Hello, my fellow romance addicts!

By the time you read this, I will be recovering from my weekend at the Romance Writers of Australia conference, which featured authors Julia Quinn, Sarah Wendell and Nina Bruhns.

I'll wait while you stop squeeing.

If you're a fan of these fabulous authors, I need to tell you some Very Important Things. First, Julia Quinn will be doing a book tour around Australia after RWA. You can find a list of dates and venues on Julia's website.

Julia's last event will be in Sydney, and Booktopia will be there with books on hand!

Sarah Wendell will be at both the Melbourne Writers' Festival and the Brisbane Writers' Festival in August/September. If you're in Brisbane, you are super lucky to have a romance-friendly festival, which will also feature local romance greats Nalini Singh, Helene Young, Amy Andrews and Anna Campbell.

If hot, hot, hot fiction is more your thing, you need to check out the new imprint by Cosmopolitan magazine and Harlequin: Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin, whose launch title is Afterburn by bestselling romance author Sylvia Day! There will be two new titles each month.

If you're more into rural romance, you'll love our featured author this month - none other than Rachael Johns. Her third Harlequin Mira book, Outback Dreams, comes out at the end of September and features one of my favourite tropes - friends to lovers. And a hot farmer! Rachael answers our Nine Naughty Questions below.

If you're after a romance hit on a tight budget, check out this week's Romance Fix title, A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford.

What I just finished: Detained by Ainslie Paton - Look out for my review of this fabulous book next month!

What I'm reading now: Julia Quinn's backlist - because a girl has to be prepared to meet her author crush!

What I can't wait for: The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn - now I'm just being predictable.

Finally, a group of romance reader-bloggers in Sydney are organising a romance trivia night at UTS on Friday, August 30. If you're keen to pit your romance knowledge against other readers (you can form tables of 6), check out the details here.

Until next month - happy reading, and may your next book be fabulous!

Kat Mayo

Addicted to lurve
Booktopia


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HOT NEW IMPRINT
Click here for details or to orderAFTERBURN
by Sylvia Day

 
So what happens when Harlequin hooks up with Cosmopolitan? A brand new digital imprint called Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin, which is launching its debut title by erotic romance author Sylvia Day.

Gianna Rossi is on the brink of a career breakthrough when she finds herself face-to-face with Jackson (Jax) Rutledge, the man who betrayed her and broke her heart, and Ian Pembry, nemesis of Gianna's mentor, Lei Yeung. Gianna is determined not to let things get personal, but now she can't seem to get away from Jax ... and it's becoming more and more difficult to remain indifferent to her old flame.

As Gianna and Lei figure out why Jax and Ian are working together, Gianna discovers that business can be very, very personal. And this time, she's fighting to win!

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RURAL ROMANCE
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By Rachael Johns

 
Everything I know about living in a rural community I learned from romance books, which might be one of the many reasons I enjoy rural romances so very much. When I first discovered Rachael Johns, I was hooked! Unlike most mainstream rural fiction, Rachael's stories never lose sight of the romance between the hero and heroine - and that's just the way I like it!

When Faith Forrester attends her high school reunion, an impulsive decision to volunteer to raise funds for charity jolts her out of her comfort zone. No longer content to be the default housekeeper for her dad and brother, Faith embarks on a makeover and a new project.

Her best mate, Monty, has a project of his own - to charm the local ice queen, and to finally buy a farm of his own. Faith has seen him as nothing more than a friend ... until now. Suddenly, she's noticing how hot he is! The question is: are they prepared to risk their friendship for love?

Faith is completely at home surrounded by blokey friends, and I love that. Her relationship with Monty isn't of the we-always-wanted-each-other-but-didn't-want-to-risk-it variety; Faith and Monty's attraction is new to them, and this gives Outback Dreams a different dynamic than most friends-to-lovers romances.

Besides, how can I resist a heroine who wallows in her misery by binge eating potato chips and sitting through a Star Wars marathon!


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DARKENING SKIES
By Bronwyn Parry

QUEEN OF THE ROAD
by Tricia Stringer
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Queensland-based author Bronwyn Parry is an auto-buy author for me, and this book wraps up her Dungirri series.

If you've read the previous books, you might remember the hero, Mark Strelitz. It's finally time for him to right a grave wrong - the wrong man is convicted of a crime he committed. So why does someone want the past to remain firmly in the past?

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So yes, this book came out last year. Why is it in this month's Buzz? Because it's nominated for a R*BY award for its strong romantic elements!

Angela needed a miracle...She didn't expect it to come in the form of a red 18-wheeler. Juggling two jobs, raising her four-year-old daughter alone and drowning in debt, Angela Ranger is struggling to survive. So when more...


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Queen of The Road

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CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
 Click here for more details or to order PICTURE PERFECT WEDDING
By Fiona Lowe

 
Erin is a photographer whose client is dead-set on having her wedding photos taken in Luke's sunflower fields (not a euphemism!), and he's dead-set on refusing the request because the last thing he needs is a Bridezilla complaining about getting a little mud (or something) in her high-heeled shoes. Antagonism between the hero and heroine isn't my favourite setup, but Fiona Lowe doesn't overdo it. Plus, there are dogs involved - a big one and a frou-frou one.

The heroine, Erin Davis, had me in the opening chapter when she sets her GPS to navigate with an Irish accent. The hero, Luke Anderson, had me at ... okay, I'll be honest - he was a bit of a 'butt-head' (to quote the heroine) to her, but he was definitely a sexy butt-head. And what's a city girl meets hunky farmer story without an Oops, I slipped in manure-mud and I'm lying on top of solid man meat and ... hello, boys! moment?

What I love about Erin is that she's not afraid to get her hands dirty, and if I'm going to believe a happy ending between a citysider and a farmer, that's pretty much at the top of my list. The chemistry between Erin and Luke is hot, and their attempts at seduction aren't just thrilling - they're also really fun!
 

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ALWAYS ON MY MIND
By Jill Shalvis

BIG SKY WEDDING
By Linda Lael Miller

SO TOUGH TO TAME
By Victoria Dahl
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HEROES IN UNIFORM
Don't bother denying it. I know that a lot of you, my fellow romance readers, can't resist a man in uniform. Although, funnily enough, they usually don't have their uniforms on in those covers. Talk me through that, please!.
UNCOMMON PASSION
By Anne Calhoun

HOW TO TAME A WILD FIREMAN
By Jennifer Bernard
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So a virgin heroine buys a hot SWAT officer at a bachelor auction. Hero offers to mentor her in the art of boinking. OMG, so many favourite tropes right there!

But wait. Despite the cracktastic sounding plot, Anne Calhoun is a wonderful writer, and she gives us a very real sense that her characters, Rachel and Ben, not only deserve, but are more than ready for their happy ending.
 

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Uncommon Passion

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How do you tame a wild fireman?
...
...
Sorry, I got distracted! This book is still on my to-be-read list, but the hero's nickname is Psycho, the heroine is a doctor was brought up in a hippie commune, and the book is set in a town called Loveless. Really, there's no way I'd pass this book up!

And to answer the question: With true lurrrve, of course!

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How to Tame a Wild Fireman

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WHISPERED PROMISES
By Nora Roberts

RUN TO YOU
By Rachel Gibson

LYING IN YOUR ARMS
By Leslie Kelly
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Check out the new home of Romance

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE: BECAUSE LOVE IS THE ULTIMATE ADRENALINE RUSH
Romantic suspense, for me, is pure escapism. Sure, if I were running for my life, the last thing I'd be thinking of is copping a feel behind a cupboard while a murderer is sneaking around in my house. But when it's romance, I ask you: Who cares???


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by B.J. Daniels


Danger runs high and passions burn hot in Montana's wild country

Big-city detective Bentley Jamison is a long way from home in the Beartooth wilderness when one of local rancher Maddie Conner's ranch hands goes missing. Towering mountains and a small, tight community are as unfamiliar to Jamison as herding sheep, but he's never shied away from a challenge. As the new deputy sheriff, he's sworn to protect every inch of this rough terrain--starting with unraveling a mystery that has left Maddie a wide-open target.

Maddie's as beautiful--and untamable--as the land around them. Like Jamison, she won't back down from danger. But desire that flares hotter than their tempers only raises the stakes when a fierce storm traps them in the high mountains. Caught in a killer's sights, Jamison and Maddie must trust one another, because now survival...and love...are all that matter.

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SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON
By Maggie Shayne

GETTING ROWDY
By Lori Foster

BAD NIGHTS
By Rebecca York
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NEW ADULT
Okay, new adult isn't really the new paranormal, but it certainly borrows some familiar tropes - the almost unbearably alpha hero, the almost unbearably ingénue heroine, and a lot of angsty angst in the middle. And angst is a thrill to read, no matter what subgenre it falls under!
WAIT FOR YOU
By J. Lynn

REAL
By Katy Evans
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Some things are worth waiting for...

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at that fateful Halloween party five years ago-an event that forever changed her life. What she never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she's more...

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You're either going to love this book ... or not!

I don't think there's a middle ground.

If you're after intense emotional highs and lows, if constant clenching in your prose doesn't bother you, and if you don't consider unmedicated mental illness a deal breaker, then you'll probably be in the love-it camp!

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PARANORMAL
Is it me or has the craze for vampires and demons died down (ha!) over the last few years? But paranormal romance readers need not worry - our favourite authors are still writing delicious stories for us to obsess over. Did I say obsess? I meant enjoy in moderation. No, really!
BOUND BY NIGHT
By Larissa Ione

STYXX
By Sherrilyn Kenyon

DARK STORM
By Christine Feehan
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U.S Edition

POSSESSION
J. R. Ward

LET THE DEAD SLEEP
By Heather Graham

THE PROTECTED
By Shiloh Walker
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HISTORICAL
I jest. Not every historical romance hero is a duke, but I confess that I'm partial to a rakish duke. I mean, there's nothing more satisfying than an arrogant and emotionally unavailable man (in fiction, people!) succumbing to the charms of a heroine who is more than happy to put him in his place. Emotional justice - it gets me every time. Also, rich dukes can afford to take regular baths. That's my fantasy, and I'm sticking to it!
GEEK GIRLS DON'T DATE DUKES
By Gina Lamm

THE TROUBLE WITH BEING A DUKE
By Sophie Barnes
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Time travel stories are a bit out of fashion at the moment, so if you love them, you should try Gina Lamm's new story. Leah steps into a mirror and straight into the Duke of Granville's household ... as a maid. (If you have such a mirror, you'd have to hope you didn't find yourself walking into, say, a transportation ship on its way to Australia!) Despite what the title may imply, Leah isn't drawn to the duke but to his valet, Avery, who thinks he's not worthy of her. You can all swoon now!

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Geek Girls Don't Date Dukes

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This is a bit of a Cinderella tale: a duke who must needs produce an heir dances with a stranger at a masquerade ball, who runs off before he can discover her identity.

I love it when the hero has to chase after the heroine! I'm not sure I'm sold on her parents not wanting her to marry a duke - a duke! - but what's a little suspension of disbelief between historical romance readers, hmm?


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 The Troubles With Being a Duke

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SUMMER IS FOR LOVERS
By Jennifer McQuiston

DESTINY'S SURRENDER
By Beverly Jenkins

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGLE
By Theresa Romain
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MILLS AND BOON
I've mentioned my love for category romances, and if you're strapped for time, they're the perfect read on the train, on the bus or at the doctor's waiting room. But I'll let you in on a little secret. I like to read my Mills and Boons while I'm cooking dinner. I pretend I'm stirring (or blending or something) and tell the family I'm busy if they ask, while I prop up my book like it's a recipe - and the result is pretty delicious!
CHALLENGING DANTE
By Lynne Graham

NEVER SAY NO TO A CAFFARELLI
By Melanie Milburne

LOST TO THE DESERT WARRIER
By Sarah Morgan
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HIS RING IS NOT ENOUGH
By Maisey Yates

SOMETHING ABOUT THE BOSS CONVENIENTLY HIS PRINCESS
By Yvonne Lindsay

HER FAVOURITE RIVAL/THE DOCTOR RETURNS
By Sarah Mayberry, Stella MacLean
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THE REBOUND GUY/GREEK FOR BEGINNERS
By Fiona Harper, JAckie Braun

THE DIVORCE PARTY
By Professor Jennifer Hayward

WHOSE BED IS IT ANYWAY?
By Natalie Anderson
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I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT ROMANCE
Click here for details or to order TEAR YOU APRT
By Megan Hart


First, I should warn readers that this isn't a traditional romance. In fact, it's not really a romance at all, but Megan Hart is a writer who straddles (ha!) that space between erotica and romance - sometimes she falls on the side of happy ever after, and sometimes she doesn't.

Elisabeth begins an affair with Will, a photographer, but what starts out as a no-strings fling quickly becomes something more. Their passion is intense, and although Elisabeth feels increasingly dissatisfied with her marriage, it's not easy to extricate herself from the life she has built.

Megan Hart has a gift for creating beauty with her words, even when she's describing something unpalatable - like cheating on your spouse. As a reader, I find this a gift and curse; I find myself picking up her books and taking a risk on a plot I normally wouldn't enjoy, but the end result can be emotionally devastating.

The sex scenes in this book aren't sugar-coated, but they're also not gratuitous. If you're after sex every second page, you won't find it in Tear You Apart. But if you like your erotica with a touch of desperation and emotional uncertainty, then there's certainly plenty of that here.

Tear You Apart isn't a comfortable read, but Elisabeth's insights into her marriage may resonate with readers who have been in long-term relationships, married or not. And even though I can't totally recommend Tear You Apart to romance readers - especially if adultery is a deal breaker for you - I think those who like to read outside the boundaries of the genre once in a while won't mind shedding a tear or two for this couple.


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U.S Edition
EROTIC ROMANCE: THE HEAT IS ON!
Have you noticed that it's getting more and more difficult to figure out where erotic romance ends and erotica starts? For me, it's the happy ending - the romantic one, I mean! But I'll admit that if the story is super hot, and the emotions are super intense, I'm not above skipping to the sexy bits and to hell with the rest...
10 SHADES OF SEDUCTION
By Various

THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF ER ROMANCE
By Trisha Telep

AGAINST THE ROPES
By Sarah Castille
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NINE NAUGHTY QUESTIONS
Click here to visit Rachel Johns author pageThis month's featured author is Rachael Johns - a name to watch in Australian rural romance. I love the way she can incorporate details of rural communities and convey what it's like to work on the land while still keeping the romance front and centre. Rachael has kindly agreed to answer our Nine Naughty Questions ... where she reveals that she has a thing for man arms!

1. Headless washboard abs, a torrid embrace, the sprawling homestead, an elegantly dressed décolletage, or the vaguely kinky object against a dark background - what's your favourite type of romance cover and why?

Ooh, can't I have ALL of the above? Yes, I am greedy I know but I love a hero with washboard abs in front of a sprawling homestead. Many of the rural romance covers have traditionally been a woman-only image with some sort of outback background, but I have to confess to not being that enamoured by these covers. Probably because my first love is the romance and I like to see evidence of romance on the front of a book. I was stoked to see my latest cover for Outback Dreams - I requested the hero on the front and got him. Best of all, he's got gorgeous arms and I'm totally an arm girl.

Click here for details or to order2. What is the secret life of a romance writer? What goes on between you and your keyboard (or quill) behind closed doors?

I think I might have to write a bit of fiction here because my romance life is currently squeezed around my housewife/mum/business woman life and thus is not always exciting. But when I'm in romance mode, I drink a lot of Diet Coke, eat Tim Tams or Lindt balls and lounge in bed with my electric blanket. For inspiration, I scour Pinterest!!

3. At the heart of a romantic story is the way in which the main characters reveal their true natures to each other. How much of yourself do you put into your characters, and have their stories been affected by your personal experiences?

I don't consciously put myself in my novels because I don't really think I'm that interesting or exciting, but little things inevitably slip in that are part of me or people I know. A good friend's love of Fanta got into Jilted and Outback Dreams was in part inspired by my son being tested for Autism early last year. Also, living in a small country community continually gives me inspiration and fodder for stories.

4. I'm interested in how you differentiate between romance fiction, erotica and porn. Are romance readers getting naughtier?

I had a bit of a giggle at this question, because I think half the people I know believe what I write is erotica merely because I throw in the odd sex scene and leave the door open. I don't read a lot of erotica but I'd say pure romance focuses on the emotional journey of hero or heroine; there may or may not be sex in the story but it is merely one part of the whole. In erotic romance, I think the conflict between the characters often comes from the sex and I'd certainly expect more frequent and graphic lovemaking. Porn I guess is sex for sex's sake without love and emotional connection. I don't read it.

Click here for details or to order5. Please tell us about your latest novel! Did you have a secret alternative title while you were writing it?

Outback Dreams
is my first friends to lovers romance, which I find surprising considering this is one of my favourite tropes. Faith and Monty have been friends for so long that they've never even contemplated the other sexually ... and then a whole series of things start happening that begin to change their perceptions of each other and themselves.

In addition to the romance, the hero's brother is autistic, and Monty's feelings towards his brother are another major issue he needs to deal with before he can get his Happy Ever After. And no, the title was always Outback Dreams because it is in essence about realising and achieving dreams. I should say it's also the first in my Bunyip Bay series.


6. What's the most memorable reaction you've received after a friend or family member read one of your books?


This relates to question three. An elderly lady who shops in our family business said to me after reading Man Drought, 'I couldn't believe as I was reading some of the scenes that this sweet, young lady I knew wrote them.' This amuses me cos I don't consider my novels all that raunchy.

Click here for details or to orderAlso, I didn't even realise that I'd named a secondary character in Jilted after a friend's baby. She'd delivered him during the period I was writing the book and only later, when she read it and told me, did I realise!

7. Romance writers are sometimes denigrated and asked when they'll write 'real' books - what do you tell the haters?

I must have been blessed because I can't recall anyone saying that to me. IF they did, I might shoot them some romance reading statistics. That many readers can't be wrong. And then I'd ask them about their movie-watching habits. It always astounds me how people are so much quicker to pick on popular fiction than they are the equivalent films!

Click here for details or to order8. Romance readers love discovering new authors. Please tell us about five books you recently read and loved to bits.

If only there was more time to read. My most recent finds are:

Rough Diamond by Kathryn Ledson
Small-Time Storm by Elise K Ackers
Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
When Snow Falls by Brenda Novak
Black Night, White Queen by Jackie Ashenden
 
9. Please tell us your favourite scene from your latest book, and why it's particularly delicious!

My favourite scene in Outback Dreams is probably after Faith and Monty finally get it together for what looks like will be for good. It's not a very dramatic scene but it's a feel-good, warm-fuzzy time. They go fishing on the jetty in their small town of Bunyip Bay but don't end up staying long enough to catch anything because they can't keep their hands off each other. Locals on the beach wolf-whistle and applaud when Faith and Monty kiss, and they realise they are the only people who couldn't see how perfect they were for each other. Then they go back to his place and spend the whole weekend in bed, eating their favourite food, watching their favourite TV shows and ... well, you get the picture.


PLEASE NOTE
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.
   
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Archives
In This Issue

Sylvia Day

Rural Romance

Contemporary Romance

Heroes In Uniform

Romantic Suspense

New Adult

Paranormal

Historical

Mills and Boon

I Can't Believe It's Not Romance

Erotic Romance
 
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Missed the August Romance Buzz ? Don't forget to pick up these titles!
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