Booktopia Romance Buzz
August 2014| Edition Sixteen
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Welcome to the August Romance Buzz!
Kat MayoAugust is a huge month for romance, but I'd like to start with a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Aussie author Leah Ashton , who won romance fiction's top prize, the RITA award, for Why Resist a Rebel? If you're looking for new authors, check out the list of RITA-winning titles in this month's Buzz!

Also in the Buzz is Aussie author Melanie Scott (aka M.J. Scott) who answers our Nine Naughty Questions, including a cautionary tale about romance books and driving! Melanie's new contemporary romance is out this month, and wait 'til you see the cover!

What I just finished: What I Love About You by Rachel Gibson - check out my review below!

What I'm reading now: by What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale

What I can't wait for: What A Duke Dares by Anna Campbell

Kat Mayo

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EXCLUSIVE TO BOOKTOPIA
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by Anna Campbell
 
The Sons of Trilogy Pack contains:
Book 1: Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed
Book 2: A Rake's Midnight Kiss
Book 3: What a Duke Dares

What a Duke Dares....

He's the last man she wants to marry -- and he's the only man she'll ever love ... A reputation at risk

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that's who. She's known Camden Rothermere since they were children -- and she also knows she'd bring more...

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BOOK OF THE MONTH
Click here for more details or to orderWHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU
(Truly, Idaho, Book 3)
by Rachel Gibson


Ex-SEAL Blake Junger has survived enemy fire in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now he's battling PTSD and Johnnie Walker. The remote town of Truly, Idaho seems the perfect place to find his equilibrium...instead, he finds a puppy, a five-year old, and a hot neighbour, not necessarily in that order. Natalie Cooper's dream life fell apart when her husband left her pregnant before being sent to prison for embezzlement. It's enough scandal to drive someone to seek a perfectly boring life raising a child and managing a photo prints shop...until she meets her new neighbour. Suddenly, she's sharing custody of Sparky, the mutt, and having lascivious thoughts about a man.

Rachel Gibson fans won't be able to resist What I Love About You. Blake has that perfect combination of raw masculinity, barely restrained sexuality and underlying decency that is just soooo drool-worthy. Natalie is a practical heroine who isn't above perving at her customers' X-rated selfies. Her daughter, Charlotte, is cute but not annoying - the fact that Blake manages to drop bad words when she's around is a bonus. Even the dog is charming - and they use him shamelessly to one-up the other.

This was such an enjoyable book, and it's not always predictable. Readers of the series will love the scenes where Blake's twin Beau makes a cameo. And when Blake and Natalie finally get it on, it's super hot!

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I NEED A HERO TONIGHT

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(New York Saints, Book 1)
by
Melanie Scott

I'm not a huge fan of baseball romances (mainly because I don't understand the game!), but Melanie Scott's new contemporary romance is less about the game and more about the team. As in, keeping it solvent. Maggie Jameson's dream to take over as owner of the New York Saints is in tatters after her Father agrees to sell the team to Alex Winters. She reluctantly agrees to help with the transition - for the good of the team - but the chemistry between them was definitely not part of the plan!

This is a strong debut in contemporary romance for Scott. While the book will most definitely appeal to readers who love a strong hero, Maggie stands her ground and gives as good as she gets. Then there's the team - specifically, the wives and girlfriends, who not just play supporting roles to their men but who are portrayed as the backbone of the team. I can't wait for the next book in this series!
 
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HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

SHELTER ME
by Catherine Mann
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The dead of winter. An isolated island off the coast of Maine. A man. A woman. A sinister house looming over the sea . . . He's a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands.

She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs. But she's not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her.

Now they're trapped together on a snowy island off the more...

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Nestled in the sunny fields of Tennessee lies the McDaniel family's Second Chance Ranch Animal Rescue. Two new arrivals are on their way, but only one is the four-legged kind. Staff Sergeant Mike Kowalski wants only one thing after he gets home from Iraq: to sleep in a king-sized bed with clean sheets. But first, he has to hand off his fallen commander's dog, Trooper, to his family without handing off his heart to Sierra...

Sierra McDaniel needs a break. Her family life is crazy, and when she's not mucking out kennels, she's slogging through more...

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Click here for more details or to order MOONLIGHT PLAINS
by
Barbara Hannay

In 1942, as the Japanese sweep towards northern Australia and allied troops swarm into Townsville, Kitty Martin is sent inland to the safety of Moonlight Plains. But when two American airmen crash on the isolated property, she is forced to grow up fast, coming face to face with tragedy, with love ...and with heartbreak. Years on, and Sally Piper, a young journalist, is sent to Moonlight Plains to cover the story of a cattleman turned builder who is restoring his grandmother's forgotten homestead.

Sparks fly between them, but Sally is struggling to let go of the past, and Luke has his eyes fixed firmly on the future. What they uncover together is a shocking secret that has been kept safe for more than seventy years. Now the entire family's happiness is at stake - or does the truth about the past hold a more...

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OH, TO BE RUINED BY A DEVILISH DUKE!

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(Debutante Files, Book 1)
by
Sophie Jordan

Twenty-year old Rosalie Hughes finds herself practically abandoned on her stepbrother's doorstep, forced to appeal to him to find her mother. She and Declan, Duke of Banbury, had been childhood friends, but to her disappointment, he seems to want nothing more than to get rid of her - and the fastest way to do it is to provide her a large dowry and let the Season take care of the rest!

When Declan mistakenly accepts a proposal on Rosalie's behalf, she is outraged, and his well-laid plan becomes slightly unstuck. It's worse when her mother appears - there's no one Declan would rather avoid, and he's more than happy to be rid of them both. But when Rosalie's safety is threatened, Declan realises that she's more than just a responsibility to him. And when the attraction between them can no longer be denied, Declan must deal the biggest trauma of his life or risk losing his chance at love.

Historical romances are so often about the hero, but A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin would not be half as enjoyable without Rosalie. She's strong but practical, and her unflagging desire to be true to herself is my favourite aspect of the story. She attends an improper party to know a real kiss, only to find herself being seduced by the unknowing Declan! And her friendship with Declan's cousin Aurelia provides some fun - I can't wait to read her book, too!

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MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY
by Sherry Thomas

THE EARL'S MISTRESS
by Liz Carlyle
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In this spellbinding romance by the acclaimed author of The Luckiest Lady in London, a beautiful and cunning woman meets her match in a man just as dangerous and seductive as she is, putting both her heart and her future at risk...
 
Hidden beneath Catherine Blade's uncommon beauty is a daring that matches any man's. Although this has taken her far in the world, she still doesn't have the one thing she craves: the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she's ever loved, the only person to ever betray her.

Despite the scars Catherine more...

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New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle creates her darkest, most sensuous story yet, as a delectable but desperate governess runs headlong into the path of a notorious rake

Women rarely refuse the wicked Earl of Hepplewood, whose daring exploits are only whispered about. But when his new governess answers his proposition with a slap, then stalks out, references in hand, Hepplewood finds more than his face is burning.

Isabella Aldridge has brains, bravado, and beauty-but the latter is no use to a servant. Her circumstances are desperate, and with Hepplewood's words ringing in her ears, Isabella realizes she must barter her most marketable more...

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NOT QUITE A WIFE
by Mary Jo Putney

WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES
by Lecia Cornwall
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James, Lord Kirkland, owns a shipping fleet, half a London gaming house, and is a ruthlessly effective spymaster. He is seldom self-indulgent...except when it comes to the gentle, indomitable beauty who was once his wife.

Laurel Herbert gave James her heart as an innocent young girl - until she saw him perform an act of shocking violence before her very eyes. That night she left her husband, and he let her go without a word of protest. Now, ten years later, a more...

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True desire always finds a way . . .

On the night before the final battle against Napoleon, Lady Delphine St. James finds herself dancing with the one man she has always wanted, Major Lord Stephen Ives. He makes it clear he has no time for a lady he sees as flirtatious and silly, but as the call to arms sounds, she bids him farewell with a kiss that stirs them both. When he returns gravely injured, she is intent on caring for him, even if his surly behavior tests more...

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THE SKY'S THE LIMIT IN PARANORMAL
DARK SKYE
by Kresley Cole

THE DARKEST LONDON SERIES:
EVERNIGHT BOOK 5
by Kristen Callihan
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Though centuries have passed since Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, lost the one woman meant for him, nothing can cool his never-ending need for Melanthe.

She was the girl he loved and lost as a boy, the girl who nearly destroyed him. Lanthe, a once-powerful sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal men. But she's never forgotten Thronos, the fallen angel who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. With their families at war and the more...

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Once the night comes . . .
Will Thorne is living a nightmare, his sanity slowly being drained away by a force he can't control. His talents have made him the perfect assassin for hire. But as he loses his grip on reality, there is no calming him-until he finds his next target: the mysterious Holly Evernight.

Love must cast aside the shadows
Holly cannot fathom who would put a contract on her life, yet the moment she touches Will, the connection between them is more...

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SHORT, SWEET AND SEXY!
IF I LOVED YOU/LEGACY OF SILENCE
by Leigh Riker, Flo Fitzpatrick
  THE REBEL AND THE HEIRESS
by Michelle Douglas
  KCPD PROTECTOR
by Julie Miller
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UNDONE BY THE SULTAN'S TOUCH
by Caitlin Crews
  TAMING THE NOTORIOUS SICILIAN by Michelle Smart
  THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE/ HOW TO BAG A BILLIONAIRE
by Nikki Logan, Nina Milne
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RITA AWARD WINNERS
Congratulations to the winners of this year's RITA Awards, judged by the members of the Romance Writers of America. One of the golden statues is headed down under, with WA-based author Leah Ashton winning the award in the short contemporary category. If you're looking for new authors to try, you can't go wrong with this list!
Click here for more details or to order SHORT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE -
WHY RESIST A REBEL?
by
Leah Ashton

Why Resist A Rebel?

Giving in to temptation never felt so good!

Ruby Bell has put scandal and relationships behind her to forge a successful career in film. Then the talk of Hollywood himself, actor Devlin Cooper, strolls onto her Outback set-fired from his two previous movies, and looking decidedly tempting! The last thing Ruby needs is Dev making outrageous demands and causing her to question her "no romance at work" rule....

But what's a girl to do when Dev's taking her on a lavish date one moment, then calling "cut" on their growing closeness the next? What exactly does he want with her-and what's causing the shadows behind those famous blue eyes? Now she's too intrigued to walk away....

This book also comes with The Guy To Be Seen With by Fiona Harper.

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HISTORICAL ROMANCE -
NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED
by Sarah MacLean

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE -
OFF THE EDGE
by Carolyn Crane
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A rogue ruined. . .

He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London's corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he's dreamed of. . . absolution.

A lady returned. . .

Mara planned never to return to the world from which she'd run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple's exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple more...

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SHE MAY BE HIS WORST ENEMY...

For deadly secret agent Peter Macmillan, language is a weapon-one he uses to hunt criminals, destroy plots, and charm enemies. Seducing information out of a beautiful singer in a Bangkok hotel should be easy...except this particular singer has the power to destroy his cool façade, and with it, his last defense against a dark past.

HE MAY BE HER ONLY HOPE...

He tricked her. He helped himself to her body and her secrets. He has enemies everywhere. Laney Lancaster should hate Peter, but more...


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EROTIC ROMANCE -
CLAIM ME
by Julie Kenner

PARANORMAL ROMANCE -
THE FIREBIRD
by Susanna Kearsley
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For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes the second novel in the erotic, fast-paced trilogy that started with Release Me.

This sexy, emotionally charged romance continues the story of Damien Stark, the powerful multimillionaire who's never had to take "no" for an answer, and Nikki Fairchild, the Southern belle who only says "yes" on her own terms.

For Damien, our obsession is a game. For me, it is fiercely, blindingly, real.

Damien Stark's need is palpable-his need for more...

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Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes sees images; glimpses into its past, and of those who have owned it before. Born with this rare ability, Nicola sees it as something to keep hidden.

But when a young woman arrives at the London gallery Nicola works at, offering a wooden carving for sale and claiming it belonged to Russia's Empress Catherine, Nicola faces a dilemma. With no proof of its past, Nicola's boss believes the carving - known as 'the Firebird' - is worthless.

But Nicola has held it, and she more...

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NINE NAUGHTY QUESTIONS WITH MELANIE SCOTT
Author Melanie ScottYou've probably heard of Aussie author Melanie Scott from her Half-Light series written under the name M.J. Scott. The Half-Light series is fantasy romance featuring fae, humans and mages. And some very, very lovely Templars. Melanie has also released the first book in her New York Saints series, The Devil in Denim (scroll up to read my review!). The series is contemporary romance trilogy featuring a trio of irresistible heroes trying to save the worst team in major league baseball - and meeting their matches in the process! The second book is due for release in Dec/Jan.

You can find out more about Melanie Scott and her books by visiting her website at www.melanie-scott.net, or www.mjscott.net, liking her on Facebook, or following her on Twitter at @melscott.

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?

Hmmm, tough one. I'm in favour of covers that evoke the spirit of the book, that catch your eye and make you want to look closer. I love a good frock on a historical cover or a good kick ass heroine on fantasy or urban fantasy. But having said that, I'm never going to say no to a gorgeous male set of abs. Just call me shallow.  And I prefer headless because then he can be whomever I picture for the book.

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

There is a sad lack of silk wrappers and feather boas and minions to take care of my life while I write. My writing process involves lots of caffeine (Coke Zero by preference), endless repetitions of my book soundtrack, nagging cats, muttering to myself, the writing of cryptic notes on random pieces of paper that don't always make sense later and a lot of wrenching myself away from procrastinating on the internet. In between all that there is binge watching of TV and movies, hanging out with friends, more caffeine, playing with yarn and paint and attempting to do things that don't involve sitting in a chair for long periods of time.

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 think it's impossible not to put some of yourself in your characters. I don't directly use my personal experiences as events in books but when I'm writing a character who is elated or terrified or heartbroken, I definitely tap into times when I felt those things to write what they're feeling. I definitely think parts of my world view come through sometimes in my characters, I think that is true for most writers. The themes and stories that we are drawn to write are influenced by who we are and what our lives have been like. But characters are their own people too so they often surprise me.

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

I think romance readers are getting a great variety of things to explore when it comes to levels and types of sexuality. Which is good. Maybe that means romance writers are getting naughtier :) As for the lines between romance and erotica and porn, I actually wrote a blog about that once upon a time. To summarise that: to me, romance is all about the relationship and you should care about the characters; porn is all about the sex and probably no one cares about the characters; erotic romance is still all about the relationship but that is probably explored chiefly (but not only) through sex; and erotica is all about the sex but you probably care about the characters to a degree. But everyone's mileage will vary on where they draw the line.

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

I'm currently writing the first book in a new fantasy series for my M.J. Scott penname. It's called The Shattered Court. My original title was The Deadly Pool but I like the new one better. It's about a woman who gets caught up in a power struggle between two countries due to a hitch in her magical heritage. Magic and intrigue and demons and a very gorgeous man and possibly a monkey.

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

One of my friends was reading one of my books out loud to her husband when they were driving somewhere and apparently he almost ran off the road during a steamy bit! So don't love scene and drive, folks.

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

That I think romance is really important. That stories about women going for their dreams and getting great guys and great sex along the way is important. That books that offer hope and optimism are important. That without romance, most of us wouldn't be here, so why is it bad to write about it? I'm a big believer that if someone loves a particular type of movie or book or music then let them love it. Click here for more details or to orderYou don't have to love it too but don't diss people for liking what they like just because it doesn't do it for you. So people get that speech too.

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

Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Stray by Andrea K.Host
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Play by Kylie Scott
City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn


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


My favourite scene from The Devil in Denim is probably still the opening scene with Maggie in a bar drowning her sorrows having had one of the worst days of her life when in walks the guy responsible for the trouble she's having. It's the first scene I wrote to pitch the series to my editor and it didn't change much in editing, the spark between Maggie and Alex was just there from the start despite how much she wants to loathe him. It was great fun to write and pretty much sold the series for me, so I'm always going to have a soft spot for it.

Melanie, thank you for playing.

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Book of the Month
 
I Need a Hero Tonight
 
Oh, How to be Ruined by a Devilish Duke!
 
The Sky's the Limit in Paranormal
 
Mills & Boon
 
Rita Award Winners

Nine Naughty Questons with Melanie Scott

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COMING SOON
Here are some of the hottest romance releases coming out in the next few months. Don't miss out - pre-order them now!
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BESTSELLERS
Check out our most popular titles and see what books your fellow romance readers are reading!

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DON'T MISS THESE TTTLES
Missed the July 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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