September 20, 2013

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London, Book 4)Witty, fun and the perfect blend of supernatural, police procedural, humor and the best of being British. But start with book 1.

Broken Homes starts with PC Peter Grant, his partner Lesley, and their boss the wizard of waverly place trying to figure out if the dude who ran a red light secretly had something supernatural in the back of his trunk. Later, they find an unidentifiable body with its face scraped off, buried in the forest, which along with a random suicide on the tracks seem to be connected to a development in Elephant & Castle, south of the river. What does this all have to do with their enemy, the Faceless Man, and what is he planning next?

Book 4 of a series previously reviewed here, this work can somewhat stand alone but it’s really better if you go through the books in order.

Peter has matured somewhat, in his magic skills and his general well-being, and though he has his moments, he’s still a good bloke trying to do right by the world. I like how he’s very human and Ben Aaronovitch portrays him as someone with advantages but who still has his own struggles that aren’t just fixed away by magic. (I keenly felt his guilt and frustration when his mother called to say that his dad needs to get his teeth fixed, and can Peter pay for half, and Peter had to avoid her because he was ashamed to say no as he didn’t have the funds…)

Read the rest of this post.

September 18, 2013

Bride By Mistake by Anne GracieSome truly wonderful and hilarious scenes don’t quite make up for an unconvincing HEA.

This review was written by guest blogger azteclady as part of our series of reviews featuring this year’s finalists for the Romantic Book of the Year awards. azteclady reads, reviews, rabblerouses. She can be found at her blog, Her Hands, My Hands, occasionally at Karen Knows Best, Karen Scott’s blog, and at MyMedia-ForumI’ve been following azteclady’s posts from way back when she first started posting at Karen Scott’s blog, so I’m incredibly chuffed to have her as a guest at Book Thingo! 

This was a difficult review to write for a number of reasons, so please bear with me.

Anne Gracie’s writing is always beautiful and engaging, and I had liked both The Perfect Rake and The Perfect Waltz so very much, that I was eager to read and review this book. Sadly, this novel is both a road romance and a trip down memory lane—and not always in a good way—and it didn’t work for me very much.

Our protagonists are the feisty Isabella and the gallant Luke (and I’m using these two words advisedly), who meet in Spain during the Peninsular Wars. He was not yet twenty at the time, she barely thirteen, and he rescues her from ‘a fate worse than death’, delivering her safely to the convent where her aunt lives, and where Isabella will presumably be safe, both from the war and from her evil cousin, Ramón.

The action of the novel itself does not start until eight years later though. We learn then that, in order to ensure Isabella’s protection more securely, Luke had married her. That way, should Ramón find her, he would still have no access to her fortune, and therefore have no reason to hurt her.

Read the rest of this post.

September 16, 2013

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments, Book 1)The start of a fun, addictive series for YA readers. Or you can watch the film instead.

Clary Fray heads to a club with her BFF Simon and witnesses three tattooed teenagers take out a boy…who then disappears! While searching for an explanation, she gets a call from her mum telling her not to go home. Frantic, Clary rushes home to find demons and is saved by one of the tattooed teenagers. She later discovers she is one of the Shadowhunters, a group of supernaturals descended from angels, who protect the world from demons. Her history is tied to theirs, and to the Mortal Cup, which is the reason why her mother has disappeared.

I will admit to buying this book because I knew there was a movie coming out and was glad that I did. I really like this series and this book in particular. It was fun and entertaining and I felt it had a fresh voice, in that while all stories are essentially the same, she managed to tell this one in a different way.

Clary gets a whole lot of shit thrown at her right off the bat, and while she might not manage to get through it with complete grace, get through it she does, with resilience and less moping about than certain dramatics (ahem, Twilight) that I know. I also liked the authenticity of the characters’ voices—Jace, the hero, and Simon, Clary’s BFF, both have the funniest quips and banter that make them sound like real teenagers. (Yes, there is a love triangle, but it gets resolved with maturity and not deus ex machina in book 2!)

Read the rest of this post.

September 9, 2013

Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint, Momentum, has launched a ‘romance community and publishing imprint’ called Momentum Moonlight.

If you’ve been watching the romance publishing space in Australia over the last year or so, this probably won’t come as a huge surprise. Momentum has been steadily nurturing its stable of romance and erotica authors, as well as the romance reading community through social media, and having a romance-focused brand seems like the next logical step.

According to the official announcement, Momentum Moonlight is ‘a romance community and publishing imprint, aimed at publishing new romance, erotica and new adult titles in addition to building a community of romance readers.’ In 2014, Momentum will publish two titles per month under the Moonlight imprint. In the meantime, it looks like previously published Momentum titles are being moved to the new imprint.

Update 13/9/2013: The first title to be published under the imprint is Holding Out For A Hero by Amy Andrews. It will be out October 1.

It’s early days yet, but there are a couple of things that I think Momentum does differently from its nearest rivals, Escape (Harlequin) and Destiny (Penguin).

Read the rest of this post.

Posted by Kat in Industry news (Leave a comment)
Keywords: momentum books
August 29, 2013

Tear You Apart by Megan Hart - US editionMegan Hart’s prose is fabulous and heartbreaking when it’s good. I could have probably overlooked the infidelity if the ending had been worth it—but it’s not.

Elisabeth meets Will, a photographer, and although they try to control their growing attraction, they inevitably succumb to hornypants and start an affair, which becomes a catalyst for Elisabeth to recognise the many ways that her marriage has become less than satisfying. It’s not just the sex—her life has become a series of routines, and she becomes increasingly frustrated at her husband’s inability to appreciate and, more importantly, to hear her.

What begins as an affair with no expectations of commitment escalates into something that becomes increasingly desperate, as Elisabeth and Will struggle to accept that they may not be what the other needs, yet are unable to sever the relationship. It’s this descent into self-destructive behaviour that author Megan Hart does so very well. Despite the fact that I have absolutely no desire to read about a woman undergoing a midlife crisis—she is forty-five and Will is forty-eight, and it’s as unattractive in a woman as it is in man when it brings nothing but misery to herself and those around her—I felt some sympathy for Elisabeth.

What happens is you get married, you raise your kids, they go off to school, and you look at your spouse and wonder what on earth you’re supposed to do with each other now, without all the distractions of having a family to obscure the fact that you have no idea not only who the other is, but who you are yourself.

Read the rest of this post.

August 28, 2013

Cheaper than a movie ticket, a trade paperback, or a big tub of ice cream…and yet so much more fun! Also, Gabby has promised us a literary meat tray.

Are you suffering from post-RWA blues? Do you wish your life was filled with even more romance? Well, four girls have come together to make sure that Sydney is host to another romance event this year!

Orchid & Peach Cocktails is a blog hosted by myself (Gabby), Rudi (creator of The Most Awesome Shoes in the Universe), Sam, and Sarah, UTS students (and one graduate) who meet every week to talk about the books we love and the books we love to hate.

Upon attending the Sydney Writers’ Festival this year and sitting in on a less-than-informed panel of not-quite-romance authors, we decided to act. We would no longer sit by the wayside and yearn for events to come to us! Nay! We would host the events ourselves!

Thus, Throbbing Hearts was born.

Posted by Gabby in Events (2 comments)
August 22, 2013

Zoe's Baby by Alison Roberts (Sydney Harbour Hospital, Book 2)Not nearly as angsty nor sexy as I usually prefer, but presents some poignant themes on the significance of family and features a great POC character. Please—can we have more?

This review is part of our series of reviews featuring this year’s finalists for the Romantic Book of the Year awards.

The last time I was on a medical romance reading bent was a few years ago, but after picking up Tom’s Redemption by Fiona Lowe at the Mills and Boon table at this year’s ARRC, and then devouring it on my flight back to Melbourne, I knew that I’d continue reading the Sydney Harbour Hospital series. And despite my better judgement (like my incredulity at the lack of people of colour—*cough* Asian nurses and doctors *cough*—in such an esteemed albeit fictional Australian hospital) I have enjoyed reading the whole collection. Mostly.

That said, Zoe’s Baby, the second novel of nine, is the only exception in the SHH series. Yep, the hero, Dr Teo Talua, is Samoan! I know, right? It’s like winning triple lottery because it is SUCH a rarity to read of a Pacific Islander hero in a contemporary Australian romance novel, AND who holds such a professional position. Actually, this may have been the very first I’ve seen. Maybe my glee over that fact clouded my overall impression of the story, but damn I really liked Teo. He is so cuddly and generous and gorgeous—just lovely.

Read the rest of this post.

August 21, 2013

The Australian romance book industry’s top prizes were awarded last Saturday at the Romance Writers of Australia conference at Fremantle. Congratulations to Life Member Bronwyn Jameson, and RUBY winners Stephanie Laurens, Nicola Marsh, Emily Forbes and Tricia Stringer.

The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens - Australian editionThe Hidden Heart Of Rico Rossi by Kate Hardy & Marrying The Enemy by Nicola MarshBella's Wishlist by Emily Forbes (Sydney Harbour Hospital, Book 6)Queen of the Road by Tricia Stringer

Once again, this year’s Romantic Book of the Year (RUBY) awards were dominated by Harlequin, whose authors won four out of five of the major awards.  Bronwyn Jameson, also published by Harlequin, was presented the Life Member award and was given a standing ovation by her peers. In the short romance categories, Destiny Romance got a look in with one nomination—not a bad effort for a digital-first imprint just celebrating its first anniversary—but both awards ultimately went to Harlequin authors Emily Forbes, for Sydney Harbour Hospital: Bella’s Wish in the Short Sweet category, and Nicola Marsh, for Marrying The Enemy in the Short Sexy category.

Stephanie Laurens took the RUBY in the Long Romance category with The Lady Risks All, published by Avon. The Romantic Elements category was dominated by rural fiction, with the prize going to Tricia Stringer for Queen of the Road, published by Harlequin’s general fiction imprint, Mira.

The RUBY awards are open to Australian and New Zealand authors who have published a romance novel in the previous year. Unlike its American counterpart, the RUBYs are judged by romance readers. You can find a list of finalists here.

The Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) also awarded a slew of minor prizes at the awards gala, the peak of its annual conference.

Read the rest of this post.

July 31, 2013

Banish by Nicola MarshAn absorbing, page turning read with a likeable down-to-earth heroine and a sweet romance that just felt…right from the get go. Check out our Q&A interviews with authors Nicola Marsh and Deborah Blake.

This post is part of the Banish blog tour. Click here for the tour schedule and participants.

After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt—a Wicca High Priestess.

Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan—a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.

But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips—and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!

Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural…despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?

Welcome to the final stop on the Banish blog tour! The novel begins a week prior to a thrilling cliff hanger of a prologue. It was so engrossing I actually forgot about the prologue until the plot arrived at that exact scene. Nicola Marsh does a brilliant job of simply cutting to the chase through Alyssa’s wry and charming point of view.

Read the rest of this post.

July 29, 2013

Newborn Baby For Christmas by Fiona LoweA book for the romantics at heart.

This review has been written by guest blogger Rebeca Troubetas as part of our series of reviews featuring this year’s finalists for the Romantic Book of the Year awards. You can find Bec online at @RTroubetas.

Did I enjoy reading this book? Honestly…I wish they make a movie about it. I know that there are a lot of romantic movies out there, but this one, it won my heart.

I chose this book to review because of the title. I knew it was just going to be an awesome read—without knowing much about the author, let alone her writing style. I laughed, cried and really felt each character’s emotions as I was reading.

Okay, so about the book.

Best friends Georgina and Hamish have seen each other through a lot of ups and down. They met at uni while studying to be doctors and have been best friends ever since. I love how they both secretly have wondered about being with the other on an intimate level but have never ever revealed this to each other.

Read the rest of this post.