Romance Buzz
April 2010 | Edition Twelve
IMPORTANT "HOT" ANNOUNCEMENT: Booktopia hopes to see you at the Australian Romance Readers Awards Dinner in Sydney on May 15th at 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm at Cello's Restaurant in the Castlereagh Hotel, 169 Castlereagh St, Sydney. You can see all the categories and 2009 finalists by clicking here.  The registration form can be downloaded from that page too. Booktopia is a proud sponsor of the ARRA event.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: Nalini Singh will be attending from NZ.

Gentle readers,

What a month it is for romance: the RITA nominations have been announced, and they include Australia's own Bronwyn Parry, for her chilling romantic suspense novel Dark Country. If you haven't read it, now's a great time to support Bronwyn as she competes for romance's top award.

It's also a huge month for readers - it seems like all the industry bigwigs have decided on an April release date, and there's plenty to choose from, regardless of your genre of choice. Check out new Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, Amanda Quick, JR Ward  - and a novel that many of you have been waiting for: Lisa Valdez's Patience

I'm also pleased to put the spotlight on Erotic Romance this month - welcome Maya Banks to the Romance Buzz everyone, as she reveals which of her heroes is her favourite, and celebrates the release of her fourth Sweet novel Sweet Temptation.

Congratulations to Carole, winner of the Linnea Sinclair contest of last month! Carole, your travel mug is travelling to you right now, and should be there soon.

Finally, I've recently read something fabulous, and just had to share. You can find it over in the sidebar.

What I've just finished: I admit, though I've heard lots about it, I hadn't read Lisa Valdez's Passion. What with the sequel out this month, I thought I ought to give it a try. Readers: protect your fingertips. This book scorches!

What I'm reading now: Stepping out of the genre for a moment, I've got my hands on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Frankly, you're all lucky I managed to get a newsletter together at all!

What I can't wait for: New Rachel Gibson next month, and the next in Lisa Kleypas's Romany series. May is going to be good!

Until next time,
Happy reading!

Kate Cuthbert
Romance Buzz

Long cold nights - and sometimes electric blankets just aren't enough. So I've decide to focus on one of the hottest authors (both in buzz and in writing) in erotic romance - Maya Banks. The fourth novel in her Sweet series from Berkley Heat (see - told you it was hot!) is out this month, and readers - it went straight to my keeper shelf.

Sweet Temptation introduces Micah - a cop running from heartbreak in his past. He's set up a new life now, and only one woman can ruin it. Angelina knows all of Micah's secrets, but she has one of her own - her love for him. Now she's going to do whatever it takes to make him see that she can give him everything he wants and needs.

Maya has dropped by to tell us about the appeal of the rough and ready, unpolished hero - and which of her heroes she loves best.

The appeal of the not so pretty, polished guy.

A lot of romances feature very polished, uber wealthy, suave and well put together men.  I’ve done my share for Silhouette Desire. But to me there is something extremely appealing about a rough around the edges, average, every day—as I like to call them…good ole boy.

It’s no secret that I’m from the American south. I love the south. Love living here. Love the people. Love the attitude.  And I love a guy who likes to hunt, fish, watch a good fight, wears faded jeans and is a little scruffy around the edges.

These kinds of guys are featured predominately in my books that are set in the south.  Particularly my Sweet series.  With the exception of Damon, the rest of the heroes are pretty average. Not huge wealthy nor are they the type of guy who are smooth and polished, always knowing what to say, nor are they absolutely comfortable when it comes to the opposite sex. Particularly Nathan from Sweet Seduction.  Of all my heroes, I have a huge soft spot for Nathan.  He gets so tongue tied and uncertain around his heroine. He’s so into her and she is IT for him but he just can’t ever seem to get it together around her.  He’s just so cute!

And then there is Micah with his floppy hair, the earring, the could-give-a-shit attitude. Or Connor with his bottomless stomach and casual, laid back personality.

They aren’t the richest. They aren’t the smoothest talking, suave and debonair heroes you’ll find. They’re down to earth, a little rough around the edges but their women are the center of their universe and when it comes to their heroine’s, they’re pretty darn unshakable. And isn’t that the most appealing hero there is?

- Maya Banks

Click here to buy Sweet Temptation.
Booktopia Price: $19.95
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 Two of romance's queens of contemporaries have novels out this month - there's a reason these authors outsell everyone else: check them out!
 Bride Quartet 3

This is the next sugary instalment in Nora Roberts' quartet about four friends in the wedding business. Savor the moment focuses on pastry chef Laurel, who sometimes fails to recognise the extravagance her clients long for, but never fails to recognise the charms of her best friend's older brother. Of course, this crush comes with complications, not least of which is that Del treats her like another little sister. Laurel isn't so little anymore, but is she grown up enough to chase what she wants? You'll have to read it to find out ;)

Click here to buy Savor the Moment.
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 According to studies, the most traumatic experience someone can go through is the loss of a spouse. So imagine if your spouse left you a love letter and asked the impossible: that you marry again. This is the premise for Debbie Macomber's latest novel, where Hannah not only requests that her widow learn to love again, but leaves a list of potential candidates.

If it's a Debbie Macomber, you can bet it's going to be a heart-wrencher in all the right ways.

Click here to buy Hannah's List.
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 It's all about the bigwigs, is April, and we've got two major releases here in paranormals as well. What is it about these two paranormal powerhouses that keeps them (and their well-loved, best-selling series) going?
Black Dagger Brotherhood 8

Say what you will about JR Ward, the lady keeps delivering. Whether you agree with the twists and turns in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series or not, the fact is there are twists and turns, and you can never quite predict where she's going to head off next. Fans - and I know you're all out there - have been waiting for this one. Finally, finally, John Matthew gets his day.

It's not secret that John Matthew is the reincarnation of Darius, the brother killed in the opening pages of JR Ward's debut Dark Lover. We've watched him grow from a scared young child through his transition into a full blown Brother - an equal to the men he's admired for years. But that loyalty is going to be put to the test when his love, the woman he wants to call shellan is kidnapped, and John Matthew has to make the ultimate choice - his brothers or his love.

Click here to buy Lover Mine.
Booktopia Price: $16.95 RRP: $19.99 - SAVE 30%

Wild Fire
Leopard Series 4

Did you know that Christine Feehan has 10 sisters? They used to help her out by reading all her books, but it's now a job of her daughters - how much fun would it be to be a part of that family?

The Leopard series is the latest series from this prolific author, and features, as you might guess, shifters. This instalments pits the most uncivilised of cats against a woman who has been burned by him before.

Connor returns home to the Panamian rainforest only on the order of the highers-up. He may look every inch the civilised man, but he bears the soul of a wild animal, heightened by the shame of his past actions. Isabeau remembers Connor - but not fondly. She has no intention of ever forgiving him, but her mating urge is overwhelming. But their deeping physical relationship holds no guarantees that he won't hurt her again - or that she will be able to heal.

Click here to buy Wild Fire.
Booktopia Price: $10.95  RRP: $15.99 - SAVE 32%

 Oh don't worry - it' s not just my Book of the Month that will keep you warm this April - I've got lots more where that came from!
Here's a description I don't get to write very often: erotic cowboy vampires. Intriguing, no? That's the premise for author Sarah McCarty's current series, of which Jared is book three. Really, I don't need to say much else - if erotic cowboy vampires don't get you, then I don't think you can be got!

Jared's in the middle of a war, so he's a little busy, but the gentleman in him can't turn his back on an injured woman. Instead of dismissive gratitude, however, he becomes tangled in her web of secrets. Raisa may have survived vampirism this far on her own, but she's under his protection now, no matter how dangerous for them both.

Click here to buy Jared.
Booktopia Price: $19.95 
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  A novel of the Breeds

I've got to hand it to Lora Leigh, she's definitely one of the most prolific of the erotic romance writers out there. If you're a fan of any of her series, you never have to wait long for the next instalment - if only every author were so kind to us!

Rachel might be reluctant; she might not be ready, but nobody can fight the mating heat of the Breeds. It is Jonas's destiny to claim her for his own, and he is not going to let anything stand in his way.

Click here to buy Lion's Heat
Booktopia Price: $10.95 
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 Just a caveat about this title: they are erotic fairytales, and though written by a romance author,  Jean Johnson, these stories sometimes stray a little more to the erotic side than the romance side, especially when it comes to solid Happily-Ever-Afters. But all that being said, this collection is hot, and it explores all of our favourite romance tropes in new, interesting, and ... well, definitely erotic ways. You might say it redefines 'happy ending'. Definitely worth exploring if you're a fan of the old stories.

Click here to buy Bedtime Stories.
Booktopia Price:$16.95  RRP: $19.95 - SAVE 15%
 The hits just keep coming this month: check out the line up of romantic suspense authors with novels out - just for you - this month. It's like Christmas!
Led by the determined-to-show-every-other-author-up-in-the-prolific-stakes Lora Leigh, this anthology features some of the best and brightest up-and-comers in romantic suspense, exploring that spine-tingling, chill-inducing, hero-of-heroes: the dangerous man. The one who knows exactly what goes bump in the night, but is still determined to protect the world from it. Yeah. That guy. You know the one I'm talking about. You know you want him. Doesn't matter if he's a sheriff, a detective, a body guard, or a special agent, he's the one thing between his heroine and danger, and you know it's going to be one heck of a  thrill ride.

Click here to buy Men of Danger.
Booktopia Price: $9.95  RRP: $16.99   <---- KILLER PRICE!!! - SAVE 41%
So sue me, ever since I met Batman at a very impressionable age, I've had a thing for bored playboys that hide a secret ass-kicking identity. Meet Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love's Hunter Wesley Thornton-Payne the third. Sure he looks the part of the wealthy degenerate, plagued by ennui, attending yet another dull society fundraiser, but it's all a ploy. He's there to save the world, and no one will ever even know to thank him.

Click here to buy Silent Truth.
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 She works as an advocate for victims who can't speak for themselves - including a young swimsuit model whose disappearance has been dismissed as a youthful freedom ride. But Chloe has access to an informant that no one else can see, and she's not going to let the case go - even if it means teaming up with an arrogant British PI who's too attractive for his own good.

Click here to buy Heather Graham's The Killing Edge. Hardcover Edition
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Super-author Linda Howard (tell me you've read the divine Open Season and To Die For? Don't even talk to me if you haven't read Son of the Morning)dips her toes into romantic paranormal suspense and co-authoring (with Linda Jones) in her latest novel Blood Born.

Luca is blood born, a full vampire, and an agent of the Council, the governing body of vampirekind. An assassination is not really unheard of, but a conspiracy of rogue vampires takes everyone by surprise. Now the vampires need the help of human conduits, blessed with abilities that can save both humanity and vampirekind. However, these powers also make them targets for the rogues, and Chloe Fallon is number one on the assassination list. Luca and Chloe will only have each other to depend on in the upcoming battle.

Is it just me, or is Chloe a super popular name for heroines right now?

Click here to buy Blood Born.
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 Maybe the publishers have finally realised how well romance and fantasy mix - I don't know. All I know is that I love all the romantic fantasy I've been able to profile lately!

If you haven't yet read Elizabeth Vaughan's Warsworn trilogy, run - don't walk - to the page and order it right now. Go on, I can wait. No seriously, if you're a fantasy fan and you haven't read them yet, then you are waaaaay late to the Elizabeth Vaughan party. Luckily there's also the Star series, once you get hooked.

Okay you're back. Good. Now I can tell you about Destiny's Star, her new novel which ties her two series, Warsworn and Star, together with a return to the harsh world of the Plains. There, Bethral,  a warrior, and Ezren, a story teller with a secret power, must navigate the prickly path of honour, customs, and civilisation, while facing the threat of civil war.

Vaughan's world mixes Eastern customs, Native American mysticism, and her own invention to breathe life into her stories. These are not to be missed.

Click here to buy Destiny's Star.
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No one does time travel quite like Lynn Kurland - for one thing, the humour that infuses her stories is as delightful and effortless as it is elusive in other authors. For another, her characters - no matter their time period - leap off the page in full three-dimensional glory. There are few authors that are an unending joy to read, but Kurland is one of them. There's no wonder that she regularly hits best-seller lists.

In one time period, a knight, bound by duty and his own honour, agrees to rebuild the most dilapidated castle in all of England. In another, a costume designer gets the break of a lifetime - the chance to showcase her fairy-tale-inspired designs at an upscale party in an authentic medieval castle.

Two time periods are about to collide, to create a true happily-ever-after.

Click here to buy One Enchanted Evening.
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it has been a long - long - time coming, but Lisa Valdez's follow-up to her scorching, scandal-inducing debut novel Passion is finally here.
If publishing had a Dawson and a Joey, it would be Lisa Valdez's Patience and a publication date. Fans of her ground-breaking Passion have been playing the 'will they, won't they' game since 2005 - with the Pacey/Jack/Jen in this scenario being unspecified delays. But the long, long wait is over and the follow-up, featuring the sister of the heroine and the brother of the hero from Passion has arrived.

Fans of the first  will remember its steamy, steamy nature (and a certain breastfeeding scene!) but newcomers should be aware that Lisa Valdez runs hot. You won't need to read Passion to enjoy this novel (especially if you like erotic historicals), but it's worth picking up, if only to sate curiousity as to the novel that created one of the biggest sensations the romance genre has ever seen!

Quick plot summary: Matthew just found out he was illegitimate. Though accepted by his noble father, society - and his fiancee - aren't as forgiving. Living on the outskirts, he plans his revenge. Patience, failing to be inspired by any of her suitors, decides to give up on the idea of marriage and focus on her music. But a closer relationship between them might force both to give up their plans.

Click here to buy Patience.
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If I haven't mentioned lately how much I love Suzanne Enoch, it's probably that she just hasn't published enough lately to give me the opportunity to gush. And readers, how I love to gush over Suzanne Enoch.

Theresa knows gentlemen, and Bartholomew is no gentleman. He disrupts dinner, is rude, and insensitive and far too outspoken. Surely no proper lady would ever want to associate with him. Which might make her...improper?

Click here to buy
A Lady's Guide
to Improper Behaviour.
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  I love this cover - all white innocence against dark backgrounds and that single red rose. Is it just me or are historical covers just getting better and better?

I also love kind of storyline: the good girl who wants to try her hand at being bad? The gentleman chosen to be her teacher who has to war with his better intentions? And, to top it all off, a treasure hunt? How many different ways can you spell fun?

Haven't yet tried awesome Australian author Sara Bennett?This would be a great place to start.

Click here to buy 
A Most Sinful Proposal.
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  I love all these covers - the hat box on Suzanne Enoch, the dark/light contrast on Sara Bennett, and how much fun would it be to wear this gown here on Mary Jo Putney's latest novel? Have you ever seen a more beautiful blue?

Her heroine certainly needs a certain sense of style for her adventurous life - kidnapped, rescued, and proposed to,  all in one day. And she's got a scandalous past, which we readers know always makes for the best kind of character!

Click here to buy
Never Less than a Lady.
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Dreamlight Trilogy 2

Amanda Quick was my gateway author - the first stepping stone to my deep and abiding love for the romance genre, especially historicals. So I have a very special place in my heart for her novels. Her latest novels have broken new ground, her crossing all three of her pseudonyms, and therefore the three time periods she writes in - Victorian England, present day (under Jayne Ann Krentz), and futuristic (under Jayne Castle). It's nothing new for her to explore the arcane and magic pursuits popular in her chosen historical time period, but this series delves deeper into the mystic.

The Burning Lamp may come with untold powers, but it carries a heavy curse - every male who inherits it goes mad. Tortured by nightmares, Griffin is convinced the curse is the cause, and is determined to break it - even if it means contacting reformer Adelaide Pyne. The woman is trying to save prostitutes, for crying out loud, and as an underworld tycoon, Griffin understands the role of prostitution. However, she also possesses raw power, and he's willing to risk everything to hold on to his sanity.

Click here to buy Burning Lamp.  Hardcover Edition
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In This Issue

Kate's Month Ahead
Book of the Month
Want more Buzz?
Booktopia Buzz
Crime Buzz


Pre-ordering means less wait time for the books you need to have.

Here's what's coming up in May. It pays to plan ahead!

Rachel Gibson
Deidre Martin
Susan Donovan
Robyn Carr
Lisa Kleypas
Mary Balogh
Hardcover Edition
Gena Showalter
Keri Arthur
Book 9 in series
Katie MacAlister
Book 1 in the series
Cindy Gerard
Shannon McKenna

What are you doing for Mother's Day?

Figured out what to get Mum for Mother's Day yet? It's creeping up awfully quickly!

Luckily I've got a couple of ideas up my sleeve for your Mum - especially if she's a reader.

I like to give my Mum time and space, so a book is a great idea, especially when coupled with a gift voucher to a nice coffee shop, or nice tea bags. Harlequin Australia has this title out this month that might be the perfect gift:

Loves Me, Loves Me Not
is a collection of over forty stories that explore all of the loves in our lives - from romantic to familial, and from perfect to bittersweet. Featuring some of the biggest names in romantic writing, including Joanna Trollope and Australia's Anna Jacobs, your Mum is sure to find something she loves.

If your Mum isn't necessarily a romance reader, try a broader-scope present (and my Mum's favourite romance series):

On top of being wildly romantic, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series is also adventurous, compelling, and a sure-fire hit with romance readers and non-readers alike. Plus, if your Mum likes it, you've got the next couple of birthdays and Christmases wrapped, thanks to the many sequels.



It's a sad but true fact that when you read as much as I do, for both business and pleasure, especially in one genre, it takes away a lot of the surprise. It's incredibly rare that a new series is as explosive and original! as the blurb suggests, and I can't count the number of new series in which I've read one book and ignored the rest.

So when something really original, and really well written comes out - something that really gets my attention and has me waiting in anticipation for the next instalment - well that's when I like to give credit where credit is due.

Readers, I give you Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers:

My Soul to Take is the first novel, followed by My Soul to Save, and then My Soul to Keep, due out in June.

This is a YA series about Kaylee, a teenager who finds out that her uncontrollable screaming is actually due to her heritage as a bean sidhe - or a banshee. She discovers her true identity when girls at her high school start dying unexpectedly, and Kaylee sings for all of them. Nash, the most popular boy in school, recognises her for what she is, and takes it upon himself to educate her in the ways of the bean sidhe - and the ways of a teenage relationship.

This series is everything a YA paranormal series should be - it's hot, without ever moving beyond second base. It's dark, without flinching from the fact that bad things can - and do - happen. It's smart, without once patronising its intended audience. It's involved, without contrived bloating or plot fillers.

In short, it's about as perfect a new paranormal series as I've seen in some time, and on the fast track to my top ten list of 2010. You will never understand how much you are missing if you don't give it a try. 

Click here to buy
My Soul to Take - Book 1.
Our Price: $12.95

Click here to buy
My Soul to Save - Book 2.
Our Price: $12.95

Click here to preorder My Soul to Keep - Book 3.
Our Price: $12.95