July 30, 2011
News, links and interesting things

Photo: svilen001 (via Flickr)

Kelley Armstrong events

Thu, Aug 11 — Sun, 14 — Romance Writers Conference
Mon, Aug 15 — Dymocks Collins St, 6.30pm
Tue, Aug 16 — Galaxy Bookshop, 5.30pm
Wed, Aug 17 — Dymocks George Street, 12.30pm

(Source: Media release)

Maria V. Snyder — Updated list of public events

Thu, Aug 4 — Byron Bay Writers Festival, 11am – 11.45am: Vampires VS Gritty Realism

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July 29, 2011
Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files, Anthology)

Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files, Anthology)

Snippets of the (ongoing) life and times of the wizard Harry. No, not that one.

As the title suggests, Side Jobs isn’t a new addition to the Dresden Files series but a collection of previously published short stories (most from other anthologies). If you’re an avid follower of the series this won’t deter you from buying it, if only for the last story, ‘Aftermath’—the carrot that Butcher tormented readers with by stating that it takes place 45 minutes after Changes. If you’re all caught up you know how big, juicy and tasty this carrot would be to any Dresden-starved fan.

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July 28, 2011
4th grade uber reader sign by smashy - http://www.sxc.hu/photo/394886Source: stockxchng

Remember that exciting news I mentioned on Twitter last week? It’s been difficult not to spill the beans, but now I can finally officially welcome Envyious to our team of regular bloggers at Book Thingo!

I’ve been thinking of inviting more people to join our group of regular bloggers for a while now, but it wasn’t until I looked at all my unread review copies that I realised there was no way Decadence, Wandergurl and I could possibly get through them. Plus, I’ve known for a while that we needed another blogger whose reading palette includes books that the three of us wouldn’t typically select.

Some of you may know Envious from Twitter, or you may have met her at ARRC, and if so you would know that she’s an avid reader, works for a bookshop, and writes entertaining reviews. (She was a finalist in the Readers Challenge for ARRC 2011 with her review of Dream Master by Maggie Nash.)

As a bonus, Envyious is based in Melbourne, so hopefully we can cover more events outside of Sydney.

But most of all, she’s totally awesome and we’re very excited to have her on board! Her first review goes up tomorrow, so watch this space. In the meantime, feel free to throw some virtual cheers her way. :D

Posted by Kat in Lucky dip (11 comments)
July 27, 2011
All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

A surprisingly sweet and funny story with some solid and charming characters.

The Bridget Jones-style beginning of All I Ever Wanted almost caused me to put this book down, but I persevered because I’d been wanting to try Kristan Higgins for some time now. I’m glad I did because the story is surprisingly sweet and funny, with some solid character development.

Callie Grey has been pining for her boss—formerly her high school crush and first kiss—and patiently waiting for the ‘timing’ to be right for their relationship. But despite one glorious five-week fling almost a year ago, Mark announces his engagement to the daughter of a key client. On Callie’s birthday. Oh, and his fiancée would now be working with the company.

Sure, she wants Mark back, but Callie gamely tries to get back into the dating pool by checking out the town’s new vet…except Ian McFarland is not exactly receptive to Callie’s charms.

It’s hard to place this book. It has a chick-lit feel and is told from the first person, but the romance features heavily in the second half of the book. It’s also not as self-centred as chick-lit tends to be. Higgins plays for laughs, but never really at the expense of her protagonist. Behind Callie’s insecurities and problems is a fairly confident, successful woman with a clear sense of who she is, surrounded by people who love her.

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July 25, 2011
The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate (Fallen, Prequel)

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate (Fallen, Prequel)

Enjoyable in a seedy way. If you’re looking for a book with an innocent heroine and black and white morality, you will be shocked.

Warning: If the title wasn’t enough of a hint, this story does not have a happy ending. This is a standalone novel originally published before the Fallen series and has been reissued presumably as a result of the series’ success.

Natalie Hargrove is the most popular girl at Palmetto High and expects that she and her wealthy, laid back boyfriend Mike will become Palmetto Prince and Princess (like homecoming or prom king and queen). She has worked hard to overcome her poor white trash background to achieve her social standing and isn’t about to let Justin Balmer, of all people, stand in their way, especially after their secret shared history.

After a Saturday night party, Natalie and Mike discover a drunken J. B. in drag and take him to the church to sober him up. On impulse, Natalie ties him to a tree outside so everyone can witness his humiliation on their way to Sunday services. Unfortunately, J. B. dies overnight and slowly everything Natalie has worked so hard for unravels around her.

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July 23, 2011

Tidbits -- news, links and interesting things

Kelly Hunter giveaway winner

Congratulations to obsidiantears83, who won our giveaway of Red-Hot Renegade by Kelly Hunter. She chose Captain Thunderbolt as the renegade who would make a fantastic romance hero:

Captain Thunderbolt. Every time I drive through Uralla, in the New England ranges, I wonder what his life story was actually like, because it is so romanticsed. There is also Thunderbolt’s Boulder just outside town where he used to hide out. He was a horse theif and was arrested, did hard labour, and then his wife’s helped him escape. They became bushrangers and lived hard, mostly between the hunter valley and the new england.

Top 10 things romance oversells

Julie of Gypsy in my soul lists of some of the most unrealistic things we might encounter in romance. And she does it with love for the genre. Hilarious. (Source: @VaVeros)

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July 22, 2011
Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres (Night Creatures, Book 1)

Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres (Night Creatures, Book 1)

A lyrical, sensual and fascinating story let down by a disjointed plot and vague world building. Your mileage may vary.

There’s something seductive about the way Marianne de Pierres writes, and although I hesitated to pick this book up—not another young adult dark fantasy novel!—once I did I couldn’t put it down…until I got to the middle.

Retra escapes her closed community to search for her brother, who ran away to Ixion two years ago. It’s a mysterious place, where everyone lives for pleasure and newcomers are urged to ‘burn bright’. It’s a place where Retra, conditioned to be silent, calm and obedient, finds herself caught up in the politics and jealousies between the Ripers who promise to guard the young revellers, the various gangs in the city, the dreaded Night Creatures, and rebel factions who know that Ixion is not, after all, just about pleasure.

De Pierres sets the story up beautifully, taking the reader on the same journey as the bewildered Retra, for whom Ixion requires a complete reassessment of everything she knows (or has been taught) thus far. But as the story progresses, De Pierres falls into the common trap of keeping details thin in order to maintain various mysteries of the world she’s creating.

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July 20, 2011
Heartless by Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate, Book 4)

Heartless by Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate, Book 4)

The latest instalment of the Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series proves that some things can get even better with time.

Alexia Maccon (nee Tarrabotti) has got herself into trouble again. Aside from the ‘infant inconvenience’ that has led to everyone trying to kill her—featuring, this time around, zombie, semi-mechanised porcupines—she has to solve a plot to assassinate the Queen. All while waddling about, moving, investigating her husband’s past, fussing over members of the pack and having tea.

This latest instalment of the Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series proves that some things can get even better with time. This book was just as witty and compelling as the others—I read it at every possible moment—and even more creative. (The porcupines were totally original.) Alexia, despite being preggers and totally dependent on her parasol, hunky werewolves and her unflappable butler to prop her up, still manages to save the day and pop out a baby besides. (Yes, the progeny makes its appearance in this one, which is not a spoiler since you can tell that from the size of her in chapter one.)

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July 19, 2011

If you were at the ARRA convention this year, you may remember Helene Young from her fantastic book reading and launch of Shattered Sky. Her books, set in North Queensland, combine romantic suspense with the increasingly popular rural lit category. Her debut novel, Border Watch (rereleased as Wings of Fear), won the 2010 Australian Romance Readers Award for Favourite Romantic Suspense and is nominated for this year’s R*BY Award in the Romantic Elements category.

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Helene is giving away a copy of her R*BY Award nominated novel, WINGS OF FEAR. For a chance to win, tell us why you love—or would love to try—Australian romantic suspense.

Some rules: Post your answer as a comment to this post. Multiple entries are fine. By entering, you give us permission to quote your entry in future blog posts and articles. You also give us permission to send your email address to the author, who will be organising delivery of the book. Open to international readers. The giveaway ends midnight on Monday, July 25 AEST. Wandergurl, Decadence and I will pick our favourite answer. The winner must provide a delivery address within one week after we announce the result on the blog.

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