Booktopia Romance Buzz
May 2010 | Edition Thirteen
Gentle Readers,

Lucky number 13, readers. It's been a year since I started putting together the Booktopia Romance Buzz, and I've had the best time. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it!

Have you got your ticket for the romance event of the year? The Australian Romance Readers Association is honouring our best and brightest with a gala dinner in Sydney. It's this month and it's open for readers. I hate to resort to peer pressure, but all the cool kids will be there. I'm not kidding. Even Nalini Singh is attending. Why on earth would you miss out? More info here, and I hope to see you there!

Now we all know that without books, there is no life, and for me especially, without historical romance novels, there is no reason to live. Luckily historical readers, this is your month. I have never seen such a dazzling array of talent for your enjoyment. It's so much that I couldn't even choose one Book of the Month. I had to go with two!

Don't worry, other genre-lovers: there's plenty out there for you as well, including that most difficult of decisions: which cover to go for on the brand new Sookie Stackhouse novel.

As always, there's a sneak peek at what's coming out in June over on the sidebar, and much bounty below. If you find yourself with nothing to read this month, it won't be our fault.

What I've just finished: You will all remember my love for Victoria Dahl novels. I stumbled across her debut the other day, To Tempt a Scotsman, so I cuddled up under the blankets with that!

What I'm reading now: I admit, I've been lax, and I've only just started the PC & Kristen Cast novels, starting with Marked. But I'm understanding now what everyone's going on about!

What I'm holding out for: Oh Readers, have you seen the historicals this month???

Happy reading (and see you in Sydney!)

Kate Cuthbert
Booktopia Romance Buzz
When you have such quality of releases in a month, how do you choose just one for your Book of the Month? Answer? I didn't. I chose two. Please welcome back Anna Campbell and Christine Wells! Both have written introductions to their new novels, out this month.

You can find out more about Anna and Christine's books in my Historicals section!

Dear Readers,
I'm thrilled to report that 4 May sees the release of Sweetest Little Sin a sexy, action packed spy thriller that stars reader favourites Lady Louisa Brooke and that ruthless bad boy of the Beau Monde, the Marquis of Jardine.

Sweetest Little Sin is unlike my other stand-alone historical romances, because it features two beloved secondary characters from The Dangerous Duke. I had meant to give Jardine and Louisa their happy ending in The Dangerous Duke but I found they had far too many issues to wrap them up neatly with a bow by the final pages of that story. Their relationship was so feisty and dynamic and complex, they simply demanded their own book. Readers demanded a book for them, too, and I was delighted when my publisher agreed.

I hope you will rush to purchase your own copy of Sweetest Little Sin, but if you're feeling lucky (Hmm, having a Dirty Harry moment, here!) do join me on one of my web appearances for a chance to win a signed copy. The dates are listed  at

Romantically yours,
Christine Wells

Hello Booktopia-ites! Hello Kate!
Really delighted to be here offering you a sneak peek of my June release from Avon My Reckless Surrender. I’m excited about this story of a dangerous seduction in Regency London, partly because it’s my hottest book yet.

Diana Carrick makes a deal with the devil which she believes will give her everything she’s ever wanted. To make her dreams come true, she agrees to commit what she believes is a victimless crime and seduce the notorious rake Tarquin Vale, the Earl of Ashcroft.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a victimless crime…

Cue dramatic music!

Given this plot set-up, as you can imagine, a lot of the story takes place in the bedroom. Tarquin and Diana find themselves caught in a liaison that is nothing like either expected and which plumbs dangerously profound emotional depths. With every moment, Diana is trapped deeper and deeper between her deception and her growing love for this man who is nothing like the careless, heartless rake she expected. Her secrets threaten to destroy both of them, but she’s gone too far now to retreat.

I love ticking-bomb plots! You know the ones where the readers know more than either the hero or heroine and are just waiting on tenterhooks for that moment of revelation where everything blows sky high. Then of course, the characters need to gird their loins (nothing like characters girding their loins!) and deal with the fall-out which takes all their courage and strength and love. Great high-stakes romance!

I’ve seen my first review for My Reckless Surrender and it’s a beauty. Romantic Times Book Reviews chose the book as a Top Pick and called the story ‘enthralling’, ‘complex’ and ‘passionate’ and finished the review by saying “Quite a book!”

You can read an excerpt at :

Anna Campbell

 I promised you a big month, and am I ever going to deliver. Just look at the names we have available for you this month:
  • Julia Quinn
  • Anna Campbell
  • Loretta Chase, Christine Wells, Lisa Kleypas, Tessa Dare, Sherri Thomas, and more!
I'm exhausted just thinking about it! Go crazy, historical lovers!
It's a hard choice - and one every reader has to make for herself - but when it comes to the crunch, who's your go-to author? The one that never fails to make you smile, that you associate with fires, hot chocolate, fuzzy blankets and all manner of warm, comforting things? That one author above all that you just can't give up? For me, that author is Julia Quinn. I know she's had her missteps. I've heard the critics, but for me the humour, the light-hearted writing, the joy that infuses each of her stories erase any wrong. Add strong, deep heroines that could be your best friend and heroes that can alpha as the next guy, but never forget how to laugh -  for me, she's it. Ten Things I Love About You is her latest novel, and features an outspoken heroine, a hero risking everything, and the man who once romanced her grandmother. How can you resist?

Booktopia Price: $10.95   RRP:$15.99
Click here to buy Ten Things I Love About You
Australian Overload!
Two talented Australian writers have steamy, sensual historicals out this month. Both have been nominated for RITAs, and both are definitely high on my must-buy list!

My Reckless Surrender
Anna Campbell put herself on the map with her very first novel, making herself synonymous with sensual dark historicals - after all, they coined 'regency noir' for her!

Only seduction can give her the freedom she craves, so it makes sense to choose London's most notorious rake for the job. She doesn't need - or expect - anything more. Unfortunately, her proposition comes at a time when Ashcroft has finally tired of meaningless, emotionless trysts. Diana, and her offer, intrigue him, but he's not going to let her win so easily.

Booktopia Price: $10.95  RRP: $15.99

Click here to buy My Reckless Surrender

Sweetest Little Sin
Readers of Christine Wells' RITA-nominated The Dangerous Duke know what an intriguing pair Louisa and Jardine make.- their tense, intriguing relationship very nearly stole the show. I know I've been waiting for this story a long time - she went and wrote another book in between!

Louisa knows that Jardine is the only man for her, but how can she compete against his wild nature? She has crashed against the wall of his ruthlessness before, and she's not sure she can take the pain anymore. Now that he's left her alone - and this time it looks like forever - she needs something, anything to help her move on. A dangerous mission and the secret service seems like an excellent escape.

Booktopia Price: $10.95  RRP: $15.99
Click here to buy Sweetest Little Sin
Tessa Dare has left a legion of fan girls in her path as she blazed her way onto the historical romance scene. It's almost embarrassing how good her novels are - and it's equally embarrassing for you if you haven't read her yet!

It's a story of luck, daring, and taking bold chances - he's tied up in the mysterious Stud Club, with rumours of murder whispering around him. But she needs help, his help, and the only way to get it is claim her dance - and his attention.

Booktopia Price: $10.95  RRP:$16.95
Click here to buy One Dance with a Duke
  Anyone who claims all historical romances are cut from the same petticoat need to get their hands on a Sherri Thomas novel right away. She is one of the most original writers working in the genre today. You can always expect a surprise from a Thomas novel.

The captive of a tyrannical uncle, Elissande knows marriage is her only hope for escape. Marriage to an idiot she can control would be even better. Lord Vere is definitely the dimmest of the lot. At least, that's how he appears.

Booktopia Price: $10.95  RRP: $15.99
Click here to buy His at Night
Married by Morning
Lisa Kleypas just keeps delivering. Historical readers who are interested in the people outside the ballroom would do well to keep her on your short-list. This latest series about the Hathaways focuses on one of the many maligned peoples in 19th Century England - the Romany. And, apart from being socially conscious, they're also fantastic reads.

Three of the Hathaway sisters have found themselves husbands, and Married By Morning finally sees the story of their wastrel, damaged brother Leo... and his redemption at the hands of a no-nonsense governess who will absolutely not be charmed by Leo's layabout ways.

Booktopia Price: $10.95  RRP: $15.99
Click here to buy Married by Morning.

Romantic short stories can be a troublesome beast - how do you portray a lasting relationship in a small word count? But short stories, when done well by writers who know what they're doing, can be an excellent way of testing out new authors. And historical short stories have the very useful trope of arranged marriages. Close proximity breeds contempt? Not with these couples! So if you haven't tried out Loretta Chase (shame on you!), Catherine Anderson, or Samantha James, this might be an excellent opportunity!

Three Times A Bride brings together these three best-selling authors to celebrate that very special, very unique moment when couples say 'I do' and link their lives together forever. Passion, desire, jealousy, revenge, love, and magic all come together in this short story anthology.

Booktopia Price: $10.95   RRP: $15.99
Click here to buy Three Times a Bride
 Don't worry, paranormal lovers. What is lacking somewhat in quantity this month is definitely made up in quality - and a brand new Sookie Stackhouse novel!
Lord of the Underworld series

Sizzle, sizzle, Gena Showalter! Steamy, sensual, seductive - who ever thought the underworld was second-class is about to have another think coming!

His life as a demon-guard is already complicated without a fallen angel arriving at his doorstep. To say that angels and demons don't really mix is an understatement; to say that he wouldn't mind mixing it up with her? Well that's just trouble in the making.

Booktopia Price: $10.95 RRP: $15.99
Click here to buy The Darkest Passion
  Riley Jenson 9

This series just keeps moving faster and faster - at book three we were already at breakneck pace, but this?  I can barely breathe! Keri Arthur said there will be 10 books in all. Hold on for the finish line!

Riley Jenson is tired - of death, of pain, of questions. But when a killer goes after everything meaningful to her, she can't just sit in the sidelines. She's going to have to fight. One more time.

Booktopia Price: $10.95  RRP: $15.99
Click here to buy Moon Sworn
 Sookie Stackhouse 10

Now, you have a decision to make. Booktopia is carrying both the traditional cartoon cover, and the new True Blood-inspired cover. The cartoon is more expensive, but it's due out earlier. It's also hardcover. The True Blood is in trade paperback, and not due until June. Me, I'm going with the cartoon - it matches the covers I have from the pre-True Blood Era. But it's a decision every reader has to make for themselves.

Last time we left Sookie, she was hurt and angry and making big life decisions. She's still hurt, and she's still angry - and she's not safe yet. Some Fae have been trapped in the human realm, and they are not happy. Not happy at all. Also, there's Eric. *sigh*

If you haven't caught Sookie-mania yet, start from the beginning. This is definitely a series that has to be read in order.

Booktopia Price:  (hardcover) $34.95,
(softcover) $24.95

Click here to buy the hardcover edition and
here to buy the softcover edition
Two award-winning authors have suspense novels out this month - one from a long-running, very popular Ops series, and one with just a hint of otherworldliness.
 Cindy Gerard's Black Ops series just keeps going and going, scooping up awards and best-seller lists as it goes. Sexy, dark, thrilling, and well-plotted, these are suspense novels for the discerning reader. Risk no Secrets is a reunion story, but don't worry - you don't need to have read previous stories, or even be familiar with the series to enjoy. Just pick it up and enjoy the thrill ride!

Booktopia Price: $10.95  RRP: $15.99
Click here to buy Risk no Secrets.
  Romance readers will no doubt understand when I say that, in this era of paranormals, reincarnation isn't a startlingly unique storyline. But MJ Rose's suspense novels deal with spiritual quests, and twist the paranormal elements into spine-tingling suspense in a fascinating, terrifying way. If you're interested in suspense that touches on areas that aren't gruesome serial killers, try MJ Rose.

Booktopia Price: $34.40  RRP: $49.99
Click here to buy The Hypnotist
 Dark, hot,  paranormal tales dominate this month's Erotic Romance section - including a new Joey Hill story!
Shannon McKenna writes very raw, deeply erotic stories that push boundaries and explore grey areas. If you like your erotica dark - sometimes very dark - this is the writer for you.

In Fade To Midnight, McKenna introduces three brothers who still miss their fourth, believed dead for almost two decades. But Kev is alive, and his memories once blocked are about to come back in terrifying fragments. They're not enough to tell him the whole story, but they're enough to show him the direction for his revenge. Along the path is Edie, terrified to let anyone too close, but unable to leave the man who discovers her secret. Now they are two, neither knowing how to rely on someone else, but unwilling to let go.

Booktopia Price:  $29.40 RRP: $41.99
Click here to buy Fade to Midnight

Vampire Mistress
Did I mention dark and boundary-pushing above? It's something both these erotic romance authors have in common. They're not afraid of the darker emotions, and they both recognise that love is sometimes inextricably linked with pain. Setting their stories in these deep, gritty , sometimes tortuous emotional landscapes is a gamble, but the payoff is huge when the redemption is complete and the happy ending greets the characters. It can be very addictive, and we're lucky that two such talented authors take these risks.

In Joey W. Hill's Vampire Mistress Anwyn finds herself caught between two men with staggeringly different world views, each hell-bent on their own mission. But they are united in one thing - their feelings for Anwyn. When her life is put into danger, they will have to find a way to work together - or risk losing her forever.

Booktopia Price:  $20.90  RRP: $29.99
Click here to buy Vampire Mistress.
I've got to say, the contemporaries this month are giving historicals a run for their money for the title of 'most awesome titles in one category in May'. Check out what's new below. 
 Rachel Gibson. I could go all hyperbole on you, but the bottom line is if you like smart, sexy contemporary romances with great characters, then this is the writer for you. Just trust me on this. And when she delves into hockey? Hold on to your ice skates - you're in for a ride. 

Chelsea may not have been a great actress, but she's certainly a passable PA, and definitely doesn't deserve the crap being heaped on her by Mr Once-a-Great-Hockey-Player-Now-on-the-Sidelines. She also doesn't deserve the borderline sexual harassment...and she'd stop it, if only she could actually bring herself to  mind about that part.

Booktopia Price:  $10.95  RRP:$15.99
Click here to buy Nothing But Trouble.
Warm, well-written, and genuine - Robyn Carr novels are all three. Note: this is a standalone novel, not set in the Virgin River world.

Gabby's will asks that her four best friends organise her literary remains, so they descend on Gabby's home in California to do so. Each finds a refuge there from her troubles, and each leaves richer than she ever thought possible.

Booktopia Price: $10.95  RRP:$15.99
Click here to buy The House on Olive
  How much fun are the covers on Susan Donovan's latest series? They may be about dog-lovers, but the dresses embody the spirit of the stories: fun and flirty.

Ginger's life is in the dumps, and though she has her dog, a Bichon Frise won't keep her warm at night. But it's not like a playboy photographer grounded in the States is going to step up to the job.

Booktopia Price: $10.95  RRP: $15.99
Click here to buy The Night She Got
Deidre Martin got her start writing sports stories about a hockey team that seemed to be lucky in both love and championships. She's been flirting with restaurants lately, and this time, she moved locations to Ireland. Oooh Irish accents. Who could possibly resist?

Getting on the wrong side of the Irish mob was probably not the smartest thing  Liam's ever done, and a long trip to Ireland is more of a necessity than a holiday. Still, tending bar at a pub in his parent's hometown is pretty nice work, especially with women like Aislinn around to brighten up the scenery. She doesn't seem all that interested, for some reason. Maybe he just needs to lay on the American charm to get her attention.

Booktopia Price:  $10.95  RRP: $15.99
Click here to buy Straight Up.
In This Issue

Kate's Month

Book of the Month

ARRA Dinner!




Erotic Romance

Want more Buzz?
Booktopia Buzz
Crime Buzz

Pre-Order June titles now!

Have you figured out that you can pre-order your next must read?

Get your books sooner, by pre-ordering your copy now ... what are you waiting for?
Laurell K  Hamilton
Gena Showalter
Elizabeth Lowell
Karen Rose
Lisa Kleypas
CE Murphy
Meg Cabot
Christie Ridgway
Shana Abe
Joanna Bourne
Jane Feather
Tessa Dare


Booktopia Sponsors the 2nd Annual ARRA Awards

In 2009, the Australian Romance Readers Association held the first ever Romance Readers Convention in Melbourne. During the course of the course of the convention, the first ever Australian Romance Reader Awards were given out.

The Convention will only run biennially, but the awards are an annual event, celebrated with a gala dinner that brings readers and writers together to celebrate the genre they love most.

The 2009 ARRA Awards will be presented at an Awards Dinner, to be held from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm on 15 May 2010, at Cello's Restaurant, Castlereagh Hotel,
169 Castlereagh Street in Sydney.

The guest speaker will be your favourite paranormal author and mine, New York Times Bestseller Nalini Singh.

Readers are very welcome to attend. In order to book your place, you must register. Registrations are now open, so get in quick before they sell out!

The cost of a ticket is $65 for ARRA members, or $75 for non-members. As membership to ARRA is only $5, you might consider signing up as well.

You can get all the information you need, including the list of nominees across all the categories at the ARRA website here.

Hope to see you there!