September 27, 2013

Don't Tempt Me by Sylvia day (The Georgian Series, Book 4)A huge fuck-around of mistaken identity, sexy times, confused characterisation, and impressive cockstands.

When a story has multiple characters with names begin with the same letter, I have trouble telling them apart. Whether it’s an Adam and an Anthony or a Margaret and a Mandy, I’m screwed and will be flicking back pages to check which is which.

THIS BOOK HAD A LYNETTE AND A LYSETTE. ONE LETTER! That was the ONLY difference!! I swear, I had no idea who was who even when I had put the book down. I was flicking back and forth and it didn’t even help. So that didn’t put me on a good footing with this one.

Lynette Baillon (yes, I had to check it was the right one) has lived a privileged life with her family in Poland. She’s wealthy, well-bred, and beautiful. However, tragedy befell her when her sister died in a horrible carriage wreck two years ago. Since then, she’s curbed her wild and untamed nature to be more like her beloved, calmer twin. Lynette’s mother, Marguerite, has been mourning her lost daughter ever since. Her daughters were all she had. She’s trapped in a loveless marriage, and the birth of her twins permanently scarred her womb so she was unable to bear any other children.

Lynette is now of marriageable age and she should be looking for a husband, but she’s enchanted with thoughts of Paris, a place that she’s never been since her mother escaped to Poland before her birth. So when her mother decides to make a trip to Spain, she begs to make a detour to Paris. And her mother relents. Just to see that spark again in her surviving daughter’s eye…

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September 25, 2013

Bella's Wishlist by Emily Forbes (Sydney Harbour Hospital, Book 6)A poignant reminder that it is never too late to carpe diem.

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

Bella’s Wishlist is book six in the Sydney Harbour Hospital series, and probably because I read the novels out of order, I wasn’t particularly excited for it. But I was definitely intrigued, because this is a romance that has a heroine with cystic fibrosis, which a) I know very little about, and b) I have never read about in romance. Because really, how not-sexy is being constantly sick?

Yeah, well, it may not be sexy, but shit happens to even the best of us—which is why Bella’s Wishlist humbled me. It’s a sweet, heart-warming story of a young woman struggling to get fire in her belly, in a figurative and emotional sense. In some ways, we’ve been there, too.

Bella Lockheart is the middle child in the Lockheart royalty. (Her great-grandfather founded Sydney Harbour Hospital, which means nepotism for the Lockheart girls. Of course.) She has the classic case of middle child syndrome—often overshadowed by Lexi, her gorgeous and vivacious little sister who works in Events, and by Evie, her headstrong and responsible older sister who is a Doctor in A&E. Bella (short for Arabella) is seriously ill with a genetic disorder, and is waiting for a lung transplant. She’s shy, a self-proclaimed plain Jane, and is resigned to being the ‘spinster sister’. Add to that two parents who neglect their duty of care for all their daughters, but especially to their most vulnerable child.

In short, Bella’s feeling far from bella.

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September 23, 2013
4th grade uber reader sign by smashy -

Source: stockxchng

The not-so-secret seven…

Despite the fact that I haven’t been able to keep up with our regular posting schedule these past few weeks—blame the day job, lurgies, and book events—several exciting things have been happening behind the scenes at Book Thingo!

First, I want to welcome Gabby and Jodi (@JodiMcA) to the Book Thingo team! I’m so chuffed that they’ve agreed to review for Book Thingo.

Gabby co-hosted the recent Throbbing Hearts Trivia Night in Sydney and she also blogs at Orchid and Peach Cocktails. You can read her first review for Book Thingo here, and you can bet I’ll be sending many more smuttylicious books her way!

Jodi wanders the world presenting papers on virgins. I’m not even making that up. She is our official Virgin Hornypants Specialist, and she’ll be reviewing category romances. You can read her first review for Book Thingo here. I also recorded a podcast with Jodi and author Ainslie Paton and it’ll be up as soon as I work out the technological thingos. Jodi also loves theatre, and you can find her theatre reviews at Australian Stage and at Theatre From The Back Seat.

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Posted by Kat in Lucky dip (5 comments)
Keywords: sarah wendell
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…)

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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.

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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!)

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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).

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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.

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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.

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