If you’re like me, you’re dashing around trying to sort out last-minute holiday presents.

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kaymayo14sepIf you're like me, you're dashing around trying to sort out last-minute holiday presents. So here's a tip: Booktopia Gift Certificates make fabulous presents minus the department store crowds!

And now for the most important question: What will you spend your gift certificates on? It's going to be a tough choice because this month we have new books by Bronwyn Parry, Laura Lee Guhrke and Jeanine Frost.

Plus, you must check out the backlist of our featured author, Amy Andrews (who also writes as Alison Ahearn ). She answers our Nine Naughty Questions, and I not only think she's great fun to hang out with (ahem), I think she writes some fabulous books!

What I just finished: Storm Clouds by Bronwyn Parry

What I'm reading now: It Started With a Scandal by Julie Anne Long -- An early Christmas present for me!

What I can't wait for:
Runaway Lies by Shannon Curtis

Finally, I want to let you know that the tickets to next year's author signing in Canberra are now on sale. The signing will be held during the Australian Romance Readers Convention, and author list is amazing. You can find more information at the ARRA blog. Hope to see you there!

Kat Mayo

Cracktastic Book Pimp (bling pending)

Follow me on Twitter: @BookThingo

For exclusive offers, news on upcoming romance titles and general romance goss, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @LoveAtBooktopia.

Australian Romance Readers Convention

Storm Clouds
by Bronwyn Parry

Kat says: Australian rural romantic suspense has evolved into a subgenre of its own, with their strong procedural elements, lush rural landscapes, and strong romantic elements. Bronwyn Parry's Storm Clouds is an interesting combination of plot-driven mystery and low-key romance.

When the story opens with Simon finding his dead estranged wife in his house, he and colleague Erin already have feelings for each other that neither have acted upon - Simon because he has secrets, and Erin because she feels Simon holding back.

Unlike the author's previous books, the whodunit isn't as big of a mystery - the suspense is in whether or not Erin and Simon can uncover the motive behind the murder before it's too late. Storm Clouds won't have enough romance to satisfy hardcore genre readers - there are no stolen kisses under fire here - but I suspect many Aussie readers love the more realistic portrayals of crime investigation, and Bronwyn's books never fail in this regard. She remains firmly in my autobuy list.
RRP: $29.99 $23.95 Save 20%
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Playing Dirty : Bad Boys Undercover - HelenKay Dimon
Beyond Limits : Tracers Series : Book 8 - Laura Griffin
Against the Sky - Kat Martin
In for the Kill : McCloud Brothers Series  - Shannon McKenna
The Maxwell Sisters
by Loretta Hill
The Maxwell Sisters - Loretta Hill From the author of the bestselling The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots comes a heartwarming romantic comedy about three extraordinary women on a journey to find love and rediscover family...
RRP: $32.99 $25.95 Save 21%
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The House at the Bottom of the Hill
by Jennie Jones
The House at the Bottom of the Hill - Jennie Jones From the best-selling author of The House on Burra Burra Lane, comes a brand-new story about opposites, attraction, an outback pub, and a pink house...

The mysterious death of...
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Bad Romeo
by Leisa Rayven
Bad Romeo - Leisa Rayven Kat says: Despite its provenance as Twilight fanfic, Lisa Rayven's Bad Romeo holds up remarkably well as a stand alone romance. There's room for better character development, and the first person narrative can be limiting for some readers, but the feelings, people. I'm all about the feelings, and Bad Romeo delivers sexual tension in spades!


RRP: $24.99 $19.95 Save 20%
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New Year's Resolution : Romance!
by Christie Ridgway, Leslie Kelly, Tanya Michaels
New Year's Resolution : Romance! : Say Yes \ No More Bad Girls \ Just a Fling - Christie Ridgway Midnight, January 1: time for a big change. Time to make a New Year's resolution to find romance-or else!

Say Yes by Christie Ridgway

Cautious florist Ashley Walker is excited to embark on her "Year of Yes" no matter what happens. But accepting a surprise job offer leads to an awkward discovery: she's hot for her millionaire boss...
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Sweet Surprise
by Candis Terry
Sweet Surprise : Sweet, Texas Series - Candis Terry Playing naughty or nice . . .

Fiona Wilder knows all about falling in lust. Love? That's another story. Determined not to repeat past mistakes, the single mom and cupcake shop owner is focused on walking the straight and narrow. But trouble has a way of finding her. And this time it comes in the form of a smoking hot firefighter who knows all the  delicious ways to ignite her bad-girl fuse.Can lead to heartbreak...

Firefighter Mike Halsey learned long ago that playing with fire just gets you...
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Flirting with Disaster / Fanning the Flames : Girls' Night Out Series : Book 2 - Victoria Dahl
It Must Be Your Love : Seattle Sullivans Series - Bella Andre
The Importance of Being Alice : A Matchmaker in Wonderland Romance - Katie MacAlister
Time for the Beach : Nobody but Him / The January Wish / Hide and Seek - Victoria Purman
Catch a Falling Heiress
by Laura Lee Guhrke
Catch a Falling Heiress : An American Heiress in London - Laura Lee Guhrke Kat says: Jack, Earl of Featherstone, is in Newport, Rhode Island, as part of a scheme to take down his best friend's nemesis. When an innocent heiress, Linnet, is caught up in the scheme, Jack saves her...by getting on one knee, proposing and kissing her right in front of her mother.

Laura Lee Guhrke is always a sure thing when it comes to historical romance, and Catch a Falling Heiress is no exception. Fans of this series will already be counting down the days until they get their hands on this book. Jack doesn't disappoint - he's sexy, take-charge, yet so swoonably noble and wonderful. Basically, everything I love in a Regency earl!
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Ace's Wild - Sarah McCarty
The Fall of Lady Grace - Julia London
If the Viscount Falls - Sabrina Jeffries
Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress - Theresa Romain
In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams
by Karen Ranney
In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams - Karen Ranney Glynis MacIain told Lennox Cameron that she loved him, only to be humiliated by his reaction. She escaped to London, met a man who proposed a bargain: marry him and they'd have a business-like arrangement.

Seven years later, she returns to Glasgow as a widow with a secret. Lennox Cameron had never married as he's never been able to forget Glynis and her confession. When she returns to Glasgow it is at the worst time in his life: he is building a blockade runner for the Confederate Navy.
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by Karen Marie Moning
Burned : A Fever Novel : Book 7 - Karen Marie Moning MacKayla Lane and Jericho Barrons return in Burned, the latest novel in the blockbuster Fever series from Karen Marie Moning.

It's easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing...
RRP: $54.00 $34.75 Save 36%
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Bound by Flames
By Jeaniene Frost
Bound by Flames : A Night Prince Novel - Jeaniene Frost Now that Vlad knows his nemesis, Mihaly Szilagyi, is still alive, the hunt is on. But after the close call Leila suffered at Szilagy's hands he refuses to accept her help finding him, let alone allowing her anywhere near ...
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Click here to browse our Mills and Boon titles

It Happened One Night Shift - Amy Andrews
A Child to Bind Them - Lucy Clark
The Secret His Mistress Carried - Lynne Graham
Her Boss by Day... - Joss Wood
Intrigue Duo : The Sheriff / Gut Instinct - Angi Morgan
Inherited by Her Enemy - Sara Craven
After Midnight / Hot and Bothered - Katherine Garbera
Historical Duo : Marriage Made In Money / Caught In Scandal's Storm - Sophia James
Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives - Nella (eBook edition)
by Cathleen Ross
Secret Confessions : Sydney Housewives - Nella - Cathleen Ross From the hottest writers in Australia comes a scintillating new series. Enter the world of Sydney's elite, and find out what goes on behind the doors of the most exclusive addresses in the country...

Meet the Housewives of Sydney. They are wealthy, elegant, poised, and constantly in the public eye. But what goes on behind closed doors, in the private homes and parties where the cameras and paparazzi aren't welcome? Delve into the most personal details of...
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7 Tales of Seduction: Released
by Alison Tyler, Anne Calhoun, Elisa Adams, Lauren Hawkeye
7 Tales of Seduction : Released : Giving in / Tied Up and Twisted / Cuffing Kate / Under His Hand / What She Needs / For Your Pleasure / Tie Me Up - Alison Tyler Like Alice down the rabbit hole, seven women follow romance and desire beyond all limits...and discover a world they never imagined...

Ellis' dream of a relaxing villa escape is shattered when she spies best friend Sasha in a compromising position. After being invited to join the other guests' intense games...Ellis musters up the courage.

Hadley has changed since breaking up with her ex, Guy. She used to be Dom to his sub, but she's been fantasising about having someone...

RRP: $15.99 $12.50 Save 22%
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Secrets of Whitewater Creek
by Sarah Barrie
Secrets of Whitewater Creek - Sarah Barrie Kat says: Last year, I talked about how much I loved Deadly Secrets by Sarah Barrie. It seems I'm not the only one because it's being reissued in print as Secrets of Whitewater Creek. If you haven't read it yet, here's what I said about it in last year's July Romance Buzz:

I love the combination of small town loyalty, deadly secrets, and undercover work that Sarah Barrie brings together in this book. Jordan's determination to succeed, the way her friends come to her aid when she needs them, and the not-easily-guessed twist revealing the villain all make for a page-turner that rural romantic suspense readers will love.

Note: This is a print reissue of Deadly Secrets, which was published in digital format last year.
RRP: $27.99 $21.95 Save 22%
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The Lost
by Nora Roberts
The Lost : Treasures Lost, Treasures Found / Mind Over Matter - Nora Roberts

Treasures Lost, Treasures Found

Kate Hardesty had inherited a pile of mysterious ocean charts. Her practical, no-nonsense father had had a dream - sunken treasure - and he'd left...

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The Space Between Us
by Megan Hart
The Space Between Us - Megan Hart Everyone has a story...

Tesla Martin is drifting pleasantly through life, slinging lattes at Morningstar Mocha, enjoying the ebb and flow of caffeine-starved customers, devoted...

RRP: $15.99 $11.95 Save 25%
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Click here to browse our Hot Pre-orders

Operation : Valentine - Loretta Hill
Runaway Lies - Shannon Curtis
Back in the Game : A Stardust, Texas Novel - Lori Wilde
The Immortal Who Loved Me : An Argeneau Novel - Lynsay Sands
Play : Stage Dive : Book 2 - Kylie Scott
The King - Tiffany Reisz
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover : The Fourth Rule of Scoundrels - Sarah MacLean
Angel in Armani - Melanie Scott
New Beginnings : Time Was / Times Change - Nora Roberts
Outback Ghost : Bunyip Bay Series : Book 3 - Rachael Johns
The Italian Wife - Kate Furnivall
After : The After Series : Book 1 - Anna Todd
The Sunnyvale Girls - Fiona Palmer
His Convict Wife - Lena Dowling
Outlander : Cross Stitch: (TV Tie-In) - Diana Gabaldon
The Governess Club : Louisa - Ellie Macdonald
The Apple Orchard - Susan Wiggs
The Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella
The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
Nora Roberts Three Sisters Island CD Collection : Dance Upon the Air, Heaven and Earth, Face the Fire - Nora Roberts
Author Amy AndrewsWhen I realised that Amy Andrews has a Mills & Boon Medical out this month, I knew I had to invite her to be our featured author on the Romance Buzz. Earlier this year, Amy won the Australian Romance Readers Award for Favourite Contemporary Romance for Holding Out For a Hero (I totally voted for her!). This award is reader-judged, so you know other romance readers thought it was excellent.

I've met Amy a few times at the Australian Romance Readers Convention as well as the Romance Writers of Australia conferences over the years, and let me tell you - she is so much fun . She also writes for quite a number of romance imprints, and it's been wonderful to see her trying different styles and plots and character types. Check out how she answers our Nine Naughty Questions!

You can find out more about Amy Andrews (aka Alison Ahearn) and her books by visiting her website at amyandrews.com.au, liking her on Facebook, or following her on Twitter at @AmyAndrewsBooks.

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?

Honestly? My favourite type of cover is the one that best represents the actual book. If not a 100% totally accurate representation then at least one that hits the right tone. Sure, abs and décolletage are great but I'd rather buy a book with a cover that actually relates to the subject matter. Too many of my own covers have been disconnected from the plot and the tone of the book to get excited about.

But abs do tend to cancel out a lot of author dissatisfaction!

2. What is the secret life of a romance writer? What goes on between you and your keyboard (or quill) behind closed doors?

A whole lot of procrastination! The internet is evil and there are days I'm rarely out of my pyjamas before the afternoon school pick up which is the best part of working from home. But it's mentally taxing stuff and you just pray for the days when the muse is co-operating! 

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, Holding Out for a Heroand have their stories been affected by your personal experiences?

There is always a little bit of me in all my heroines. Ella in Holding Out For A Hero despised sport - that's me. Samantha in Risky Business struggled with her far from skinny frame - that's me. In my medical romances I draw from a lot from my own personal experiences of being a hands-on nurse for twenty-seven years. Writing a book is deeply personal and I think a little bit of truth is always added to the fiction.

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

I know in my last book, No More Mr Nice Guy I certainly was at my naughtiest and I think, after hitting the USA Today bestseller list with it, it was clear that this was resoundingly appreciated. But the Brazen line is known for its heat and, as I'm no stranger to that, it wasn't a big leap for me. To me romance, erotica and porn is in the eye of the beholder - one reader's erotica will be another reader's porn. But, personally, I believe erotica/porn is about the sex and romance is about the relationship. Which is not to say either is good or bad - it just depends what type of book a reader is after at any given time.

It Happened One Night Shift5. Please tell us about your latest novel! Did you have a secret alternative title while you were writing it?

It Happened One Night Shift is a bit of a change for me. The hero in the book is a nurse and the heroine is a doctor and after 30+ medicals where it was usually the other way round I was very worried how my editor would take this. I'd been wanting to do a nurse hero for a lot of years so I was relieved when she told me that she absolutely believed that I could tell that story.

As far as titles go... this book was my 31st medical and I've kept only one of my own titles in that time which gets to be fairly soul destroying so I'm beyond suggesting titles now. It Happened One Night Shift was simply called Billie and Gareth from the beginning.

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

Actually I recently met with a friend of my aunt and uncle who was a huge Amy Andrews fan. It was back in my home town in the house my parents built when I was in grade 12 and where my father still lives and she actually hugged me and cried she was so excited. I've had a couple of enthusiastic fan greetings before but never tears! I went away into my room to give her a book and when I came back she was saying to my aunt - "I can't believe how normal she is." I laughed and said, "I'm still just a Rocky girl at heart." I don't know what she'd been expecting but I'm pleased I smashed her pre-conceived ideas.

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

Is it horrible to admit I hate the haters? I dislike that they usually judge on so little basis - rarely having read a romance novel at all or if they have its something from twenty or thirty years ago.  If they'd read reasonably widely in the genre and then declared their hatred I'd be fine about it but alas...

Normally I get so flustered and angry when confronted with such ignorance I'm completely inarticulate and then think of scathingly witty things to say afterwards. There was one time when a man I was speaking to at an event said to me, "Oh, you write those novels," in a rather pained tone. "Oh," I said, "Have you read any?" He shuffled and said, "No."  I replied, "Most people who have an opinion rarely have." He looked sheepish and I felt like I'd made my point but it feels like a battle that you constantly have to wage and one that you tire of very easily. As Taylor Swift says - haters gonna hate... I'd rather talk to the lovers!

The Seek8. Romance readers love discovering new authors. Please tell us about five books you recently read and loved to bits.

I've actually made a point of reading this year. I get so little time to do so but I've been determined to etch out some reading time in 2014!

The Seek by Ros Baxter - sci-fi romance at its best. Ros has an incredible voice that never fails to enthral me. Kick-ass heroine, a race for life itself and a hot, sexy romance subplot - hello!

Unsuitable by Ainslie Paton - I adore Ainslie's voice but this one blew it out of the park for me. Loved the gender role reversal, loved the relationship build, loved the aching plausibility of it all.

The V-Spot by Wendy S. Marcus - Wendy is a fellow Harlequin medial author but this novella was done for the Cosmo Red Hot Reads and I honestly don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't this amazing book about a plus size heroine - and I mean plus - and a hero who could not get enough of her. I've read so many books about "curvy" and voluptuous" heroines but Emma was big and I love how Wendy Marcus didn't shy away from that. I also love Emma's internal critic because I could totally relate! The Book Thief

Truly by Ruthie Knox. This was my first Knox and won't be my last. I stayed in bed until 2 in the arvo to finish it! I loved these two characters and I REALLY loved how she bought New York alive for me. The city felt like another character - I swear I could smell it as I was reading!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - honestly, I'm not a literary reader at all but I wanted to lick this book. I'd seen the movie just prior and hadn't really liked it and read the book out of curiosity but I was captivated by the author's wordplay. I finished the final page on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney - literally the last page was read as the plane taxied to the terminal and tears were streaming down my face.

9. Please tell us your favourite scene from your latest book, and why it's particularly delicious!

One of my favourite scenes in It Happened One Night Shift occurs when Gareth, the hero and Billie the heroine are plastering Mrs Berkley's arm after she'd fractured her wrist from a fall she took doing the Chicken Dance at her great-grandsons wedding. She's eighty-four and high on pain killers and inadvertently playing the matchmaker. There's a chuckle or two and some delicious sexual tension!
Amy, thank you for playing.
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