Booktopia Romance Buzz
June 2014 | Edition Fourteen
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Welcome to the June Romance Buzz!
Kat MayoHello, my fellow readers of romance!

Winter is the perfect season for snuggling under the doona with some hot chocolate and a stack of books. So you'll definitely want to check out this month's Romance Buzz because we might be halfway into the year, but the books just keep getting better and better. We have books by Nalini Singh, Loretta Chase, Tiffany Reisz, Marie Force and Diana Gabaldon.

This month, the fabulous Jo Goodman answers our Nine Naughty Questions. She writes slow, broody historicals, or if you love a good Western romance, you must pick up her books. Definitely an autobuy author for me!

What I just finished: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, a charming and quirky young adult romance

What I'm reading now: The Devil in Denim, a contemporary romance by fantasy writer MJ Scott, writing as Melanie Scott

What I can't wait for: What A Duke Dares by Anna Campbell, which comes out in August

Until next month - may your to-be-read pile be stacked with awesome books!

Kat Mayo

Purveyor of Book Crack
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BOOK OF THE MONTH
Click here for details or to orderSHIELD OF WINTER
(Psy-Changeling, Book 13)
by Nalini Singh


Kat says: Vasic is an Arrow, a soldier who has had to commit atrocities in the name of duty. He is tasked with protecting Ivy, an empath of the newly recognised E designation, whose abilities are key to staving off the infection threatening to cause the collapse of the PsyNet and the annihilation of the Psy population.

If you're wondering how bestselling author Nalini Singh can top the awesomeness of Heart of Obsidian, the answer is that she doesn't try. Shield of Winter is a very different book, with a lot more worldbuilding as the Psy-Changeling series arc approaches its conclusion. The romance between Vasic and Ivy is sweet and intense and sexy - everything we love about Nalini's books! I particularly love the, uh, research file that Judd lends to Vasic after they have a kind of birds and the bees talk between telekinetics. I know, right???

There's only one more book left in this current series arc (but don't panic - I have no doubt that Nalini has more stories in this world up her sleeve!), so savour this book and enjoy all the twists and revelations, some of which refer to things that happened in the very first book!

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If you haven't tried the Psy-Changeling series, it's not one to miss! You can start with Slave to Sensation, the book that got me hooked on paranormal romance!

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SERIES FAVOURITES
This month is for serious fans. Check out the next books in your favourite series. And if you haven't heard of these books yet, it's the perfect time to start from the beginning and find out why readers can't get enough of these books!
WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD
by Diana Gabaldon

TOP SECRET TWENTY ONE
by Janet Evanovich
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The latest epic volume in the multi-million-copy bestselling Outlander series.

It is June 1778, and the world seems to be turning upside-down. The British Army is withdrawing from Philadelphia, with George Washington in pursuit, and for the first time, it looks as if the rebels might actually win. But for Claire Fraser and her family, there are even more tumultuous revolutions that have to be accommodated.

Her former husband, Jamie, has returned from the dead, demanding to know why in his absence she married his best friend, Lord John Grey. Lord John's son, the ninth Earl of Ellesmere, is no less shocked to discover that his real father is actually the newly-resurrected Jamie Fraser more...

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Written In My Own Heart's Blood

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Trenton, New Jersey's favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he's out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city's hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer's whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. So Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn't want to do: protect former hospital security guard and general pain in her behind Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti's bookkeeper and knows all his boss's dirty secrets more...

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Top Secret Twenty One

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THE SAINT
By Tiffany Reisz

A SHIVER OF LIGHT
By Laurell K. Hamilton
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Before she became Manhattan's most famous dominatrix, Nora Sutherlin was merely a girl called Eleanor...

Rebellious, green-eyed Eleanor never met a rule she didn't want to break. She's sick of her mother's zealotry and the confines of Catholic school, and declares she'll never go to church again. But her first glimpse of beautiful, magnetic Father Marcus Stearns-Søren to her and only her-and his lust-worthy Italian motorcycle is an epiphany. Eleanor is consumed-yet even she knows being in love with a priest can't be right.

But when one desperate mistake nearly costs Eleanor everything more...

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The Saint

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I am Princess Meredith NicEssus. Legal name Meredith Gentry, because "Princess" looks so pretentious on a driver's license. I was the first faerie princess born on American soil, but I wouldn't be the only one for much longer...

Merry Gentry, ex-private detective, now full-time princess, knew she was descended from fertility goddesses, but when she learned she was about to have triplets, she began to understand what that might mean. Infertility has plagued the high ranks of faerie for centuries. Now nobles of both courts of faerie are coming to court Merry and her men, at their home in exile more...

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A Shiver Of Light

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WHAT'S A WAGER BETWEEN LOVERS?
Click here for details or to order VIXEN IN VELVET
(The Dressmakers, Book 3)
by Loretta Chase


Kat says: Leonie Noirot is determined to make her dressmaking business the talk of the town by transforming the dowdy and sullen Lady Gladys into the belle of the ball. But Simon Fairfax, Marquess of Lisburne, is a constant distraction.

They make a wager: Lady Gladys will receive a proposal of marriage by the end of the Season... or Leonie spends a fortnight with Simon. The stakes are high for Leonie, but now she's not sure what she wants more - to win the wager... or to lose it with all her heart.

This book is vintage Loretta Chase . The chemistry between Simon and Leonie is charming and sexy and fun, without losing that edge of tension that keeps things interesting. Simon is a delightful hero - smooth-talking, slightly selfish, but ultimately undone by a worthy heroine!

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Can't start mid-series? Then pick up the first Dessmakers book, Silk Is For Seduction!

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HOW TO SCHOOL YOUR SCOUNDREL
by Juliana Gray

TO MARRY A SCOTTISH LAIRD
by Lynsay Sands

THE SECRETS OF A SCOUNDREL
by Gaelen Foley
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SOMETHING SWEET, SOMETHING SECRET & SOMETHING RED
Click here for more details or to order RED SAND SUNRISE
by Fiona McArthur


Kat says: You might know Australian author Fiona McArthur for her Mills & Boon Medical romances. This month brings us Fiona's first single title romance set in rural Queensland. Eve Wilson learns that she has a stepfamily, she moves to Red Sand and meets her two sisters, Callie and Sienna. As she gets to know her knew family and her new community, Eve can't help but falling for the town...and a local station owner.

This isn't a traditional romance, but more women's fiction with romantic elements. Fiona's background in midwifery gives the story a very strong feel for medical practice in remote towns. If you love rural fiction with a touch of romance and family drama, you'll want to pick up this book!
 
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Click here for more details or to order SOMETHING SWEETER
by Candis Terry


How does a notorious playboy convince a wedding planner who doesn't believe in marriage that true love is worth the risk?

A dream come true... To the single women of Sweet, Texas, former Marine, Jesse Wilder, is hot, hunky perfection with six-pack abs and a heart of gold. He's a veterinarian who loves animals, kids, is devoted to his family, and is financially stable. The best part? No woman has yet snagged him or put a ring on his finger. The problem? Jesse's been down a long, bumpy road and isn't the least bit interested in setting his boots on the path to matrimony.

Comes heart-to-heart with a wedding planner and her big secret... Sure, Allison Lane makes a living helping others plan their big day, but that doesn't mean she has to actually believe in matrimonial bliss. Her family's more...

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I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND
by Marie Force

RUSTY NAILED
by Alice Clayton

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU
by Mhairi McFarlane
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Click here for more details or to order THE SECRET DIARY OF LIZZIE BENNET
by Bernie Su, Kate Rorick

Kat says: If you've never heard of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I envy you because you can watch all the episodes back to back and enjoy it for the first time. (You can start here.) It's a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern times and told through social media, mainly YouTube. I know this sounds a little too cute, but trust me when I say it's a really fabulous adaptation.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet provides more background into the series. It's a brilliant companion book for fans of the series, but be warned - you might be tempted to watch the series again while you read this!
 

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WEDDINGS, BRAZILIANS AND KEEPERS
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by Michelle Douglas


"Are you here to arrest me, Officer King?"

When Officer Mitchell King- her ex and the only guy Tash Buckley has ever loved arrives on her doorstep, claiming she needs his protective custody, Tash is more concerned by the heart-fluttering, pulse-racing effect he still has on her!

Confined to Mitch's beachside cabin, Tash finds it increasingly difficult to resist her delicious protector.

The Wild Ones duet continues with The Rebel and The Heiress, available next month!

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RAVELLI'S DEFIANT BRIDE
by Lynne Graham

NINE MONTHS TO CHANGE HIS LIFE
by Marion Lennox

WEDDING AT SUNDAY CREEK
by Leah Martyn
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BRAZILIAN MEN: BRIDES
by Emma Darcy, Jennie Lucas, Catherine George

DON'T TELL THE WEDDING PLANNER/THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB
by Aimee Carson, Lucy King

THE FINAL SCORE/THE KEEPER
by Nancy Warren, Rhonda Nelson
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NINE NAUGHTY QUESTIONS WITH JO GOODMAN
Click here for more details or to order I'm so excited this month to have Jo Goodman, one of my favourite historical romance authors, here at the Romance Buzz to answer our Nine Naughty Questions. When I read my first Goodman, If His Kiss Is Wicked, I was stunned at what I had just read. Her writing style is a combination of attention to detail in the setting, restraint in the dialogue, and so much delicious subtext it's almost unbearable.

You can find out more about Jo and her books by visiting her website at jogoodman.com, or by liking her on Facebook. If you've never tried Jo's books before, I've included a list of my favourites after Jo's answers below!


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?

As a fan of picture books from birth on, I like a romance cover that sets a scene. I prefer that the hero and heroine are together but not in a clinch where her leg is dangling over the crook of his elbow or his hand is halfway to the Promised Land (whether it's coming from the North or the South). I want the cover to suggest romance in the broad sense of the term: adventure, relationships, love.


Click here for more 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?

There's a romance writer out there with a secret life? I want to meet her (him). I went into Facebook kicking and screaming and now people know I have a raccoon problem and keep stuff in my refrigerator way past the expiration date. My so-called secret life is the work I do as a counsellor where confidentiality keeps my lips sealed. My writing life? Well, that's an open book.


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 am not consciously aware of putting myself into my characters, and yet there is no doubt that it happens. The best example I have of a personal experience affecting characters is the Thorne brothers trilogy (My Steadfast Heart, My Reckless Heart, and With All My Heart ) in which the oldest brother sets out to reunite family. It was a reader's letter that tapped into my experience when she told me how the books tapped into her own. In some way the books mirrored the efforts of my half-brother to seek out his (my) father and connect with siblings he had never known. My characters cannot help but be influenced by my counselling work. I think about their facial expressions, how their tone affects what they say and how they are understood, how their physical movements communicate anxiety or peace, and how they internalize or express feelings. It's a workout.


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

Relationships loom large in romance fiction. Erotica is the sexual connection. Porn is boring.

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

In Want of a Wife is a mail order bride story. I realized that I had written stories that touched on that theme but never one as straightforward as this. It takes place in Bitter Spring, Wyoming, the same fictional town that was the location for The Last Renegade and True to the Law . It gave me a chance to revisit some characters I came to enjoy (the rapscallions Finn and Rabbit most particularly). I really like the title of this book, but it was my editor who came up with it. My working title was 'Becoming Mrs. Longstreet'. I still like that title, but when viewed in the context of putting a lone cowboy on the front cover, it puts a decidedly different slant on 'Becoming Mrs. Longstreet'. I don't think the romance community is ready for that.

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

I guess that would be when friends or family are surprised by a familiar name in the book and think to themselves, "Wow! I know someone by that name." Then they remember that I wrote the book. It catches them off guard. I like the idea that they lose themselves enough in the book that they forget I wrote it.

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

If I have a conversation with them - and I usually don't - I might say something like $*@(&%@)$(*. No, not really. I don't have time for that conversation. I have thoughts, just not time.


8. Romance readers love discovering new authors. Please tell us about fiveClick here for more details or to order books you recently read and loved to bits.

I listen to many more books than I read these days and with few exceptions (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Mary Balogh , Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Diana Gabaldon), I read thrillers/mysteries. I depend on others to turn me on to someone new. Some of my favourites are Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Jeffrey Deaver, Robert Crais, Lisa Gardner, Michael Connelly. You know, the usual suspects. I listen to books as I walk or ride my bike, and I find that the need to know what happens next motivates me to get moving. The book I just finished, Suspect by Robert Crais , was pretty darn terrific. I don't know that a police story ever moved me the way this one did. The police dog was a powerful character.


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

For me, a favourite scene is one I enjoyed writing (that's another way of saying there was no blood on the page when I finished). I suppose that scene in In Want of a Wife is the one where Morgan Longstreet confronts his wife Jane about why she never asks for anything from him. The exchange that takes place reveals more about their character, their way of thinking, and how they mean to go on with their marriage. It also leads up to the first time they share a bed. Love scenes are never my favourite. Stabbing myself in the eye with a fork would be less painful than writing a love scene. Still, when they're done, I think I've managed to move the story ahead.

Jo, thank you for playing.


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KAT'S RECOMMENDED TITLES
If you've never tried a Jo Goodman book before, here are some of my favourite titles from her backlist!
IF HIS KISS IS WICKED
(eBook edition)

KISSING COMFORT
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This was the first Jo Goodman title I picked up, and I fell in love with its Gothic feel. When she agrees to help her cousin end a love affair, Emma Hathaway is brutally attacked. She turns to Restell Gardner for help, and it becomes clear that Emma is embroiled in a dangerous plot.

It's difficult to do justice to this book. The dialogue is tense and the narrative brims with subtext. If you like your plots to unravel slowly and your prose to be filled with things unsaid, this is the perfect Goodman novel to pick up.
 

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If His Kiss Is Wicked

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Kissing Comfort is my favourite Jo Goodman Western. It takes a few chapters to figure out that nothing is as it seems - starting with the heroine being in love with the hero's brother.

Don't worry, dear reader - I hate love triangles and I promise you that this is not one of those books. Comfort and Bode's brother Bram announce their engagement, but Bode knows that something is amiss. It's a slow burn between Comfort and Bode, and the romance is beautifully crafted amidst a mystery plot that will keep you guessing at every turn.

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Click here for more details or to order IN WANT OF A WIFE
by Jo Goodman


This is the latest book by Jo Goodman, and I talked about it in last month's Romance Buzz. In Want of a Wife delivers a good old American Western - small town, male-order bride, and secrets that threatens to bring danger to the hero and everything he loves.

If you love reading about the life of early American settlers, the roughness of the West, and the kind of love that is built on shared goals as much as passion, you'll love In Want of a Wife!
 

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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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In This Issue

Book of the Month
 
Series Favourites
 
What's a Wager Between Lovers?
 
Something Sweet, Something Secret & Something Red
 
Weddings, Brazilians and Keepers
 
Nine Naughty Questions
 
Kat's Recommeded Titles
 
COMING SOON
Don't miss these great titles coming out in the coming months - pre-order them now!
 
 
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Don't miss these titles
Missed the May Romance Buzz? Here are some of my favourites from last month!