Booktopia Romance Buzz
July 2014 | Edition Fifteen
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Welcome to the July Romance Buzz!
Kat MayoGuys, the long-awaited next book from C. L. Wilson is finally here! I might have begged for an advance copy of this book, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I used you, my fellow readers, to justify it. I read it all for you!

I'm also excited to introduce you to Auralee Wallace, our featured author this month. Auralee wrote Sidekick, featuring a socialite heroine who just wants to be a (semi-)competent superhero. Read on for Auralee's answers to our Nine Naughty Questions and my thoughts on the book!

What I just finished: The Brewer's Tale by Karen Brooks . 'An unforgettable tale of love, treachery and alcohol in medieval England' - How could I resist that tagline?!

What I'm reading now: The Devil in Denim by Melanie Scott. More on this book next month!

What I can't wait for: The Wickedest Lord Alive by Christina Brooke, which comes out at the end of August.

Kind Regards,
 
Kat Mayo

Sparkly Book Pimp (even in the shade!)
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BOOK OF THE MONTH
Click here for more details or to orderTHE WINTER KING
by C.L. Wilson


Kat says: It's been a long wait for C. L. Wilson's next book - and if you haven't read her Tairen Soul series, you really should! - but it's well worth it. When Summer Prince steals the Winter King's bride and slays his brother, the peace in Summerlea is broken. To avenge his brother's death Wynter Atrialan summons the darkest magic of the Wintercraig to bring the Summer King to his knees. In retribution, Wynter demands a Summer bride to bear him an heir. The Summer King tricks Wynter into accepting his least favoured daughter as his bride. But Khamsin has her own uncontrolled power - the power of storms...and a heart that may yet break the ice's hold on Wynter's heart.  

The Winter King is epic fantasy meets fairy tale. The dreamy quality of C. L. Wilson's prose is a beautiful contrast to the betrayals and battles for power in Wintercraig, and Wynter's struggle to reconcile his need for vengeance with his growing affection for Khamsin. Wynter is the best of alpha heroes - his darkness stems from the most noble of intentions, and his care and affection for his people belie his fearsome reputation. I could not put this book down!

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FROM FLINGS TO FOREVER
Click here for more details or to order LOOKING FOR TROUBLE
(Jackson: Girls' Night Out, Book 1)
by Victoria Dahl


Kat says: Victoria Dahl's sizzling new series, set in the small town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, starts with a bang (pun intended). Sophie Heyer looks like the demure librarian she wants her neighbours to see - her mother ran off with another woman's husband, and her family has lived with the shame ever since. But when Alex Bishop rides into town in his bike, Sophie can't resist him and all the temptation he represents, even though doing so can only lead to the kind of family dramas she has spent her life trying to avoid.

The chemistry between Sophie and Alex sizzles, and although family disputes are at the heart of the external plot, they don't get in the way of showing why these two are perfect for each other. Yes, the demure librarian is a stereotype, and so is the tattooed biker, but there's more to these characters than sexy times - and that's what makes Victoria Dahl's books so very, very good!

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THEN CAME YOU
by Jill Shalvis

FRAMED AND HUNG
(eBook edition)
by Alexis Fleming
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Rumor Has It and the Lucky Harbor series comes the story of a woman whose world is turned upside down by one night's torrid fling...

Veterinary intern Emily can't believe she wound up in the small town of Sunshine, Idaho, instead of the Los Angeles clinic she had always imagined. Now she has to put her plans to move to L.A. on hold for a whole year while she fulfills the obligation of her vet school scholarship.

Then Wyatt, her more...

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Then Came You

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U.S. edition


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If there's one thing Zoe Chandler, Historical Restorations expert, knows, it's that naked bankers aren't supposed to look like Greek gods. Honestly, it's enough to make any woman pause. Luckily, Zoe is more of a take-charge, rush-in-where-angels-fear-to-tread kind of girl, and she definitely has fantasies of rushing towards Jake. But Jake is a man who is all about control, and there's no way he's going to let Zoe run this show.

Nude paintings, blackmail, and mind-numbing sexual frustration...will either of them survive this project?

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SEXY SECRETS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Click here for more details or to order THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF LADY JANE FIELDING
(eBook edition)
by Viveka Portman

 
Kat says: Told in the first person in the style of journal entries, The Private Affairs of Jane Fielding uses an unusual twist to erotic romance's favourite trope - the  menage a trois. Jane's husband Jacob is involved in a serious accident that leaves him unable to conceive any more children. Without an heir, his estate and the wellbeing of Jane and their two daughters will fall into the hands of his dissolute brother. Jacob proposes a solution that will require Jane to welcome a third person into their marital bed. It's a shocking proposal - one that might beget an heir, but that their marriage might not survive.

This novella starts off slowly, showing a loving relationship strained by events beyond Jane and Jacob's control. It's rare to find an erotic romance that acknowledges the jealous tension between participants, but it's this sense of unpredictability that keeps the reader on edge until the end. I don't often find myself wanting more sexy times in a romance - how many ways can slot A fit into slot B (and C), after all - but I found the characters so intriguing that I wished we could spend more time with them. Readers who love the tension of a menage without spending too much time detailing the many sexual permutations possible will definitely enjoy Jane's story.

Click here for more details or to orderTHE SAINT
by Tiffany Reisz


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, it is Søren who steps in to save her. When she vows to repay him with complete more...

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SECRETS AND SPIES
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(eBook edition)
by Sarah Barrie


Kat says: Deadly Secrets is based on an intriguing premise: Jordan Windcroft is almost at the end of her probation for a crime she confessed to, but didn't commit. But she hadn't counted on Detective Reed Easton taking over her parole meetings and enforcing rules and schedules that just don't go well with the whims of cattle - cattle that she needs to sell in order to keep her farm above water. Reed is at Whitewater Creek hoping to finally solve a three-year drug investigation. Jordan is his biggest lead, but as he gets to know her, he begins to understand the support that the community of Whitewater Creek has given her. When damning evidence surfaces to implicate Jordan in a major drug syndicate, Reed has to decide if he'll follow his head or his heart.

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.

Click here for more details or to order BETRAYED
by Rebecca York


A corporate spy is leaking top-secret information that could lead to extreme disaster. It's up to former Army M. P. investigator Shane Gallagher to uncover the mole. To do that, he needs one woman's help.

Systems analyst Elena Reyes had no intention of stealing company secrets until her brother's life was threatened by the cruelest of mobsters. When Elena finally confesses her deeds to Shane, he's ready to do everything he can to keep her out of danger.


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SCANDALS, MISTRESSES AND ROGUES
Click here for more details or to order I ADORED A LORD
(Prince Catchers, Book 2)
by Katharine Ashe


Kat says: Ever wonder what a Jane Austen/Agatha Christie remix would be like? It might look something like I Adored a Lord. Katharine Ashe's second Prince Catchers books definitely takes a different turn when Ravenna Caulfield joins a house party for a prince to choose his bride and finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation with the prince's half-brother, Sir Vitor Courtenay. Ravenna has never wanted to marry a prince, and she is at the party under sufferance. But when she sneaks into the stables, discovers a litter of new puppies, finds herself kissed by a nobleman, and wounds said nobleman with a pitchfork...well, she knows the party isn't going to be as easily endured as she had imagined.

So many things happen in this book, and the murder mystery isn't even the most interesting aspect of the story. Vitor and Ravenna's verbal sparring is fun but always laced with uncertainty and emotional risk. And if you love animals, there are some adorable scenes with Vitor and the runt of the litter, which Ravenna sneaks into his room and who ends up adopting Vitor despite his protestations. This book made me think, and smile, and cry - as all fabulous romances do!

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Don't like reading books out of order? Grab book 1 of the Prince Catchers series, I Married The Duke!

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ROGUE WITH A BROGUE
by Suzanne Enoch

A GOOD DEBUTANTE'S GUIDE TO RUIN
by Sophie Jordan

LOVING ROSE
by Stephanie Laurens
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Click here for more details or to order FOR ALL TIME
(Nantucket Bride, Book 2)
by Jude Deveraux


At the wedding of Alix Madsen and Jared Montgomery, Jared's cousin Graydon can't look away from bridesmaid, Toby Wyndam. It's not just her quiet beauty or humour - Toby possesses the truly remarkable ability of being able to distinguish Graydon from his identical twin brother, Rory. According to family legend, such a gift marks her as Graydon's True Love.

Graydon is heir to the Lanconian throne and must to marry a noble woman who has been chosen for him. Yet, intrigued by Toby, he asks her to help him hide on Nantucket for a week away from regal responsibilities. Knowing their union to be impossible, they promise to more...


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THE CAPTIVE
by Grace Burrowes

THE ESCAPE
by Mary Balogh

THE MISTRESS OF NORMANDY
by Susan Wiggs
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THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY
by Katie MacAlister

TRAPPED AT THE ALTAR
by Jane Feather

WITH THIS RING
by Celeste Bradley 
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IN A WORLD OF ITS OWN
Click here for more details or to order SIDEKICK
by Auralee Wallace


Kat says: Bremy St James is determined to right her father's wrongs, and what better way than to land an apprenticeship with Dark Ryder, the city's kick-arse crime fighter. Except Bremy is more socialite than superhero, and her most spectacular talent seems to be the ability to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But Bremy isn't taking no for an answer, and when she stumbles her way into a mission to foil a villainous scheme of epic proportions - complete with acrobats and hot air balloons - it's her chance to prove once and for all that she's not her father's daughter.

What's the equivalent term for bromance between two women? Twitter tells me there isn't one, but @kanokochi helpfully suggested 'womance' so that's what I'll go with. Sidekick is awesome in so many ways, but mostly for the womance. This books is all about the female characters, and even though there's a little romance between Bremy and a Clark Kent-esque reporter who seems to have wandered into the wrong superhero story - which is great, because it allows me to talk about the book here in the Romance Buzz! - that's only one of the many interesting things about the story. Bremy's girl crush on Dark Ryder, and her bumbling attempts to be helpful, provide much comic (see what I did there?) relief. I also love Bremy's disdainful and ever so slightly scary neighbour who designs her superhero costume. Everything about this story is fantastical, over-the-top, and so totally fun!

Author Auralee Wallace is our featured author this month. Scroll down to read her answers to our Nine Naughty Questions and find out her father's reaction when he read the book!

Click here for more details or to order KNIGHT AVENGED
(Circle of Seven, Book 2)
by Coreene Callahan


Alone in a world on the brink of war...two unlikely allies will discover a love greater than time.

Exiled from her home, powerful oracle Cosmina Cordei holds the key to uniting those protecting mankind from evil. But just as she makes her way into the holy city to perform an ancient rite, the enemy closes in for the kill...

Drawn by a destiny he won't accept, elite assassin Henrik Lazar detests the mystical curse handed down by his mother. But when the sorcery in his blood is activated and past pain comes back to haunt him, his new abilities come into play and he must learn to more...

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SHORT, SWEET...AND A LITTLE NAUGHTY!
PREGNANT WITH THE SOLDIER'S SON
by Amy Ruttan

DATING FOR TWO/ A BRIDE FOR SUMMER
by Marie Ferrarella, Sandra Steffen

THE ULTIMATE PLAYBOY
by Maya Blake
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CHRISTAKIS'S REBELLIOUS WIFE
by Lynne Graham

CARRYING THE SHEIKH'S HEIR
by Lynn Raye Harris

AFTER HOURS
by Vicki Lewis Thompson
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NINE NAUGHTY QUESTIONS WITH AURALEE WALLACE
Author Auralee Wallace You know when you read a book and everything just feels really new and you wonder why no one has written a similar story before? Well, that's how I felt when I read Auralee Wallace's debut novel, Sidekick. The story features Bremy St. James, a socialite heroine who wants to atone for her father's shady business dealings by helping the city's most kick-arse superhero, Dark Ryder. Except Dark Ryder isn't keen on taking on an apprentice - especially not one as mayhem-prone as Bremy. (You can read more about my thoughts on the book by scrolling up to my review!)

You can find out more about Auralee Wallace and Sidekick by visiting her website at auraleewallace.com, liking her on Facebook, or following her on Twitter at @AuraleeWallace.

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?

My gut reaction is to choose the vaguely kinky object against a dark background, but I think that is probably because I am imagining shackles hanging from a dungeon wall, which then puts me in mind of some gothic romance, maybe by Victoria Holt. So instead of a sprawling homestead, I would like to humbly suggest the iconic haunted manor on a cliff as an option. Very retro, I know, but I've always been a sucker for a haunted manor on a cliff.

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


What goes on? Terribly uncomfortable, awkward displays of angst. Once, without my knowing, my six year old managed to turn on the webcam of my laptop, and when I minimized my manuscript and saw my electronic reflection, well, I nearly had a heart attack. I may have even screamed, "Oh no! A witch!" It wasn't so Click here for more details or to order much my lack of grooming that had me startled - although, there was that. It was the deep furrow in my brow and the slightly crazed - let's call it intense - look in my eye. Apparently, I take my comedic voice very seriously.

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 do put a lot of myself into my characters. Sidekick , for example, certainly has some personal wish-fulfilment woven into it. I think most people have wanted, at one point or another, to be a crime-fighter - right some wrongs, save the day, just be willing to do the hard thing that no one else will do. I think this is because we live in such a complicated world with complicated problems. It can make a person feel helpless. My main character, Bremy St. James, probably should consider herself helpless, but instead, she makes the decision, over and over, to get up and try to make the world a better place. She often fails spectacularly, but she always tries...

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

I believe the success of Fifty Shades of Grey opened up a sort of societal discourse that gave women the courage/freedom to own their fantasies - even the ones that go beyond pink satin sheets and roses. For me, romance fiction focuses heavily on the emotional connection of the characters while erotica spends more time luxuriating on the physical connection. Of course, the two are intermingled. The problem I have with 'porn' is that it is difficult to separate the theory from the practice. I don't have a problem with pornography per se. I do, however, have a serious problem with the industry that exploits and abuses both women and men. Therefore, I don't consider it to be in the same category as romance fiction or erotica.

5. Please tell us about your latest novel! Did you have a secret alternative title while you were writing it?

Click here for more details or to orderSidekick is a Cinderella story about a down-on-her-luck socialite who just wants to save the world from her evil, billionaire father. While Bremy St. James (wannabe sidekick to the city's own Dark Ryder) does run into her fair share of bad luck, not much can derail her from going after what she feels is right.

As for the title, I always wanted it to be Sidekick. It's just so fun to say, and my children love tearing around the house yelling it at the top of their lungs while throwing air kicks.

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

Sidekick is my first book, so I haven't had a whole lot of reaction yet, but my father recently started reading it, and his response was, 'Well, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't this!' He then went on to tell me he loved it because, well, he is my father. That being said, I think reading my book can be a little like trying a new food. Some readers are adventurous and dive right in. For others, well, they may need a moment to sort through all that they're tasting. There's a lot of flavour.

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

Hmm, what do I tell the haters? RUN! Or be prepared to get an earful. I used to teach at the college level, so I can easily go on for three hours without so much as a washroom break. Seriously, though, without going into full-on lecture mode, I would probably say that art is subjective. To use a well-worn example, the majority of Shakespeare's patrons preferred bear baiting to opera. What is determined to be high and low art often depends on who has the socio-economic power. Dismissing an entire genre as frivolous is out and out intellectual laziness. I also believe, like many others, that there is inherent chauvinism in the too often unthinking dismissal of the romance genre.  Professions that are comprised mainly of women, as is the case with romance writers, historically, have always had a tougher time gaining respect.

I know what you're thinking - I bet she's really fun at parties. You're right. I totally am.

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

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke -Click here for more details or to order because Robot Love always makes me teary.

The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas - because Thomas is just so smart!

Archetype by M. D. Waters - because it put me in mind of The Stepford Wives, and I love the The Stepford Wives.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - because I just had to know what was in that letter!

Click here for more details or to orderThese Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman /Meagan Spooner - because I've always wanted to be stranded on a deserted planet after my luxury spaceliner has crashed! I know. I know. Everybody says that...but it my case, I really mean it.

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

I've struggled with this question quite a bit. I don't think I have a favourite scene. I do, however, love it when Bremy is facing near insurmountable odds - it could be an escape from the top floor of an office building, swinging free from a hot air balloon, or facing a troupe of crazed circus performers - and she just refuses to give up. Those scenes make me very happy. Even though I'm the one writing her, I just never know what she's going to do next!

Auralee, thank you for playing.
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In This Issue

Book of the Month

From Flings to Forever

Sexy Secrets Behind Closed Doors

Secrets and Spies

Scandals, Mistresses and Rogues
 
In a World of Its Own
 
Short, Sweet...And a Little Naughty!

Nine Naughty Questions with Auralee Wallace
 
 
COMING SOON
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BESTSELLERS
Check out what romance books other readers are picking up. These are our most popular titles!
 

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DON'T MISS THESE TITLES
Missed the JUNE Romance Buzz?
Here are some of my favourites from last month!
 
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EBOOK BESTSELLERS
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AUDIO BOOK BESTSELLERS
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